Functional Sweden win away in Konya to relegate Turkey


Turkey 0 : 1 Sweden

A penalty from Helsingborgs IF defender Andreas Granqvist in the 71st minute gave Sweden a valuable away win and guaranteed some revenge for the Turks’ win in their home tie.

Turkey finish League B Group 2 in last place and go down, having failed to score for the third game running. Although they had just 44% possession and created the better chances, Sweden rarely looked out of control on  perfect pitch.

Sweden can still be promoted if they beat Russia in a group decider in Solna.

Sweden entered the game without a win in their group, which also includes table-topping Russia.

The Scandinavian side had Jakob Johansson back who missed the World Cup, despite scoring the goal against Italy that secured their place. Former Hull City midfielder Sebastian Larsson also started for Sweden in the Konya Büyükşehir Belediye.

Everton’s Cenk Tosun started up front for Turkey, as did the very dangerous Milan midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu in a young Turkish side where six starters were under 25 years old.

Sweden had surrendered a 2-0 lead in the opening battle between these two sides only to lose to three late goals.

The match was only 37 seconds old when Sweden keeper Robin Olsen saved standing up from his Roma team mate Cengiz Ünder. Turkey however could not keep up that pace.

Sweden passed the ball well without getting too close to the Turkish goal, their best early effort being a long range strike from Martin Olsson which was easily blocked.

Yunus Malli dragged a great chance across the goal possibly trying to put the ball past the advancing Victor Lindelöf but he could, and perhaps should, have hit the target. Calhanoglu wasted another chance with a limp and wide long range effort with other options around him.

Olsen made one more decent save from a Calhanoglu  header, who latched on to a good headed pass from Tosun but half time arrived with Turkey holding a statistical advantage of 57% possession but the game still very much up for grabs.

Turkey received a sharp reminder of this when Larsson passed up a brilliant chance when he flicked a header wide from a  Martin Olsson cross. Sweden’s domination of the early stages of the second half continued unabated and the home side looked flustered on occasions.

Referee Istvan Kovacs of Romania had governed the game with minimal fuss but finally issued yellow cards to Albin Ekdal for a foul on Under and to Granqvist for stopping Tosun with his hands.

He then correctly awarded a penalty to Sweden in the 70th minute when Okay Yokuslu fouled Marcus Berg. Granqvist finished beautifully with a textbook penalty even though Bolat guessed the right way and dived far. Irfan Kahveci replaces Mahmut Tekdemir as Turkey were forced to chase the game.

Sounders FC’s Gustav Svensson replaced Albin Ekdal as the visitors attempted to defend their narrow but invaluable lead, joining Filip Helander on the field who had earlier replaced Lindelof. Ömer Bayram replaced  Hasan Ali Kaldırım for the home side.

Caglar Soyuncu would have been relieved to be rightly flagged offside having but a chance wide, but he was the wrong side of Svensson. Isaac Kiese Thelin replaced Viktor Claesson to run the clock down into the four minutes added on.

Sweden can now look forward to hosting Russia with the chance of promotion. Turkey are relegated to the next level down.


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