football Sports News


Former Galatasaray and Turkey defender Ahmet Calik has died in a car crash, aged 27, his club Konyaspor confirmed on Tuesday.

“We are in deep sorrow to have lost our player Ahmet Calik who earned our fans’ and city’s love since the first day he arrived at Konyaspor,” the club posted on Twitter.

According to Turkish website Spor Arena, the crash happened on a motorway near the capital Ankara where Calik was heading during a day off to finalise plans for his wedding.

Calik made more than 50 appearances for Galatasaray during a three-year spell before joining Konyaspor in 2020.

The centre-back also played eight times for the Turkish senior team between 2015 and 2017 and was part of the Euro 2016 squad, although did not play a match.

In a statement the Turkish FA said: “It is with deep sadness that we learned that Ahmet Calik, football player of Ittifak Holding Konyaspor, who also played in our national team, passed away as a result of a traffic accident.

“May Allah have mercy on the deceased.”

Galatasaray also issued their own tribute.

“It is with deep sadness that we learned of the death of our former football player Ahmet Calik,” the club said on its website. “We express our condolences to his grieving family, loved ones and Turkish sports community.”

football Slides Sports News


Red-hot Memphis Depay nets hat-trick as Netherlands hit Turkey for six

Memphis Depay scored a hat trick as the Netherlands ran out 6-1 winners over 10-man Turkey at the Amsterdam Arena on Tuesday to go top of World Cup qualifying Group G on goal difference.

It was the first international treble for the 27-year-old striker — who joined Barcelona as a free agent this summer — as the Dutch posted an emphatic victory for the second time in four days. The big win put them on 13 points from six games and vaulted them above Turkey at the head of the group.

Davy Klaassen scored in the opening minute to make a dream start for the home side, who had lost 4-2 to Turkey in Istanbul in March at the start of the qualifiers for the Qatar 2022 finals, before Depay added three more, including a penalty.

Guus Til scored the fifth 10 minutes from time and Donyell Malen added a sixth in stoppage time before a consolation goal for Cengiz Under.

The result means Turkey slip from top to third in the group as they remain on 11 points with Norway moving second, behind the Dutch on goal difference, after beating Gibraltar 5-1 on Tuesday.

It was a night for dominance by the Dutch, who picked up where they left off after Saturday’s 4-0 win over Montenegro to snatch the lead as Klaassen combined with Depay to score almost straight from the kick-off. An aggressive Dutch approach led to Klaassen then providing the assist for Depay’s first goal in the 17th minute as they doubled the score, and it was 3-0 at halftime after Depay converted a 38th-minute penalty.

Leicester City defender Caglar Soyuncu was booked for a foul on Klaassen to concede the spot-kick, which was awarded after a VAR check. The Turkey defender was then sent off for a second caution on the stroke of halftime. From there, Depay completed his hat-trick with a diving header on the goal-line to touch home Steven Berghuis’s cross in the 54th minute, before Til and Malen sealed the win with two more goals.

The one blemish came from a errant pass from goalkeeper Justin Bijlow that allowed Under to score for Turkey with the last kick of the game.

All in all, it was a triumphant night for veteran coach Louis van Gaal at the start of his third spell as coach. He had just days to prepare the team for their draw in Norway last Wednesday, but has since engineered two emphatic wins and a clear path to automatic qualification for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

football Slides Sports News


Xherdan Shaqiri scored twice as Switzerland beat Turkey 3-1 in Baku to keep their Euro 2020 round of 16 hopes alive.

Liverpool forward Shaqiri gave Switzerland a 2-0 half-time lead after team-mate Haris Seferovic had opened the scoring and added his second after Irfan Can Kahveci’s long-range effort for Turkey had reduced the deficit.

The Swiss, beaten 3-0 by Italy last Wednesday after drawing 1-1 with Wales in their opening match, needed to win to stand any chance of progression.

Turkey head home after three straight defeats, having lost to Italy and Wales without scoring in their first two matches.

Seferovic gave Switzerland a flying start, firing home a clinical finish into the bottom corner in the sixth minute.

Shaqiri doubled the Swiss’ lead 20 minutes later with a superb curling effort to lift their hopes of completing a five-goal swing and overhauling Wales into second spot.

Turkey got themselves back into the match just after the hour-mark when Kahveci lashed a shot into the top corner from outside the box.

But Switzerland restored their two-goal lead soon after when Shaqiri provided a first-time finish at the end of a sweeping counter-attack.

Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Steven Zuber provided the assists for all of Switzerland’s goals and went close to adding to the scoring himself on three occasions.

Turkey were much improved after two dismal displays against Italy and Wales and Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer pulled off a series of fine saves, three of them to keep out first-half efforts from defender Mert Mldr.

Switzerland were also denied on several occasions by outstanding Turkey goalkeeper Ugurcan Cakir as both sides created a combined 41 attempts on goal.

Turkey failed to muster a rousing finale and exit the tournament without a point and just one goal to their name.

Switzerland must now wait for the other groups to be completed before learning whether they qualify for the knockout stages as one of the four best third-placed teams.

football Sports News


Italy rode three second-half goals to a 3-0 win over Turkey in Group A of the opening match of the 2020 European Championship in Rome on Friday.

Postponed by a year, the biggest footballing event since the coronavirus brought the world to a halt, kicked off Friday at the Stadio Olimpico — a milestone both for European and world sports.

Roberto Mancini’s Italy came into the match on a 27-match unbeaten run, and their fine form showed early on as the Azzurri dominated possession and went close with a pair of headers from corner kicks just past the 20-minute mark.

Italy ratcheted up the pressure as half-time approached and, after some intricate build-up play, Ciro Immobile was sprung in the box only to fire right at Turkey keeper Ugurcan Cakir as the teams went into the break locked in a 0-0 draw.

“We have played many teams that have done what Turkey did this evening. They put everyone [back] there, give you little space and make it hard for you to score,” said Mancini.

“But the lads had patience. We waited, kept playing, tried to get that goal, then we got it. The lads did really well. The first half wasn’t straightforward and in a game like that, even if they [Turkey] put everyone back, if you give one [goal] away on the break, the game changes.”

The pressure on the Turkish defence finally told when Merih Demiral inadvertently chested the ball into his own net from a Domenico Berardi cross, and Italy took the lead shortly after the restart.

A goalmouth scramble led to Italy’s second, with Immobile pouncing on a loose ball in front of the Turkish goal and firing home to double the advantage of Mancini’s side.

Lorenzo Insigne put the game away for Italy in the 79th minute, curling home a beautiful first-time shot after Turkey’s Cakir hooked a goal kick right to the opposing side and Italy pounced for their third.

Italy’s third goal made history as it marked the first time they had scored three goals in a match at the Euros in their 39th attempt.

“It was important to start well here in Rome, and it is a joy for us and for all the Italians,” Mancini told Rai.

“It was a great evening, I hope there will be many more, but there are still six to go before Wembley”.

Turkey will face Wales next in Group A action, while Italy play Switzerland, with both games played on Wednesday, June 16.

After a build-up featuring a spine-tingling performance from opera singer Andrea Bocelli, a spectacular fireworks display and a typically raucous rendition of Italy’s national anthem, the 16,000-strong crowd was in fine voice by kick-off.

Italy were determined to make a strong start five years on from their last major tournament appearance, having failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, and they started strongly.

The visitors were happy to sit deep and invite pressure and rarely ventured into the Italian half throughout the opening period, but Mancini’s side were left frustrated in their efforts to break through the wall of red shirts.

Giorgio Chiellini had a header tipped over with a spectacular one-handed save by Cakir and Immobile nodded a cross wide as the hosts stretched the Turkish defence.

Insigne curled a shot straight at Cakir from the edge of the box, and Immobile fired into the keeper’s arms as Italy headed in at the break with 14 attempts to none from Turkey.

Italy’s patience was rewarded when Berardi fired a cross into the 6-yard box where Demiral chested the ball into the net — the first time in European Championship history that the tournament’s opening goal was an own goal.

Spinazzola had a shot beaten away, and Manuel Locatelli’s low effort was palmed wide before Immobile doubled Italy’s lead by pouncing on Cakir’s parry from another Spinazzola effort to knock in the rebound.

“We showed patience in the first half,” Immobile said. “Turkey are a strong side and caused problems for many top teams. We tried to tire them out, moving the ball left and right and trying to spread them. Unfortunately, we regularly struggled to break their wall.

“Turkey were more tired after the break. After the [first] goal they had to open up some space, so that’s when our quality emerged.”

The Azzurri’s dominance was rewarded again when Immobile threaded a pass to Insigne, who placed a precise finish into the bottom corner with 11 minutes remaining.

Mancini told his players in the prematch news conference that they should enjoy themselves and seek to entertain, and that was exactly what they did for a jubilant home crowd.



Roberto Mancini has warned his buoyant Italy side to be on their guard as they prepare to kick off their Euro 2020 campaign against Turkey at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

Mancini’s men go into the tournament as one of the favourites for the title after launching themselves on a 27-match unbeaten run, including winning all 10 of their qualifying games.

But Mancini, who spent a year coaching Galatasaray in the Turkish Super Lig, is all too aware of the threat posed by his opponents, and the possibility of freezing on the big occasion.

Mancini told a press conference: “The first match is always the most difficult. We must shake off the tension and not think about other things, just focus on what needs to get done.

“There will be a little more pressure with it being the opening match of the tournament, and Turkey are packed with talent, but it remains just another match and we have to focus on that.”

Mancini, who is already missing Marco Verratti, suffered another blow in the build-up to the game when Lorenzo Pellegrini was forced out with a muscle injury, and will be replaced by Gaetano Castrovilli.

Mancini, who took over in 2018 when the Italian team was still reeling from failing to qualify for the World Cup, added: “I was positive three years ago and I am even more so now.

“We have excellent players and have forged an excellent team spirit. We’ve had fun and we want to carry on having fun, and I am very confident that we will make it to London.”

Turkey also cruised through Euro 2020 qualification and coach Senol Gunes believes his squad, which features a number of Serie A-based players including Milan’s Hakan Calhanoglu and Merih Demiral of Juventus, are capable of an upset.

Gunes said: “It is good having players who are in Serie A clubs, as they know how things work in Italy and the approach these teams take.

“We must not lose concentration, otherwise there could be real problems. The first and last games of the group are fundamental and they can change the balance of the whole situation.

“It will be hard-fought in technical, tactical and physical terms. I want to see the quality of my players on show. This is a game between two strong teams and I believe Turkey can win.”