UEFA U-21 Group Seven qualifier
Republic of Ireland 0-1 Turkey
A late winner by Turkey substitute Oguzhan Ozyakup condemned the Republic of Ireland to defeat in this UEFA U-21 Group Seven qualifier at the Sligo Showgrounds on Tuesday night.
Noel King's side could have knocked the Turks out of contention for second spot in the pool with victory and they produced enough openings to have won easily.
Instead, the result puts a five-point buffer between the nations in the hunt for the runners-up place behind Italy, who are now confirmed victors of the group.
In order for Ireland to finish behind the Italians in second, they must accrue six points from their final pair of matches â€“ the double-header in Hungary and Italy on September 6 and 10 respectively.
Ireland had racked up a four-match unbeaten run at the Showgrounds till this reverse.
The early signs of continuing that streak appeared encouraging after only two minutes when captain Greg Cunningham raided down the left flank, swapped passes with James Collins and drilled narrowly wide of the far post from an acute angle.
Collins was next to threaten with a shot which found the side-netting but, in between, a slick Turkey side displayed their intent by forcing Ireland goalkeeper Ian McLoughlin into a one-handed save from Sefa Yilmaz ferocious shot.
Buoyed by another big crowd in Sligo, Ireland maintained their tempo after the break and had a decent penalty claim turned down on 52 minutes after Aidan White was sent sprawling in the box by Ozgur Cek as he attempted to latch onto Robbie Brady's threaded pass.
Turkey then lost Muhammet Demir to a straight red card on 74 minutes following a challenge on Cunningham, yet the numerical superiority seemed to benefit the visitors instead of Ireland.
Six minutes from time, McLoughlin was forced to dive low in order to stop Ismail Haktan Odabas' shot. Moments later, the ball was played to the edge of the area where Ozyakup collected, side-stepped two tackles and slipped the ball beyond the goalkeeper.
Late in the game, John Egan nearly earned a point for Ireland by breaking into the box and belting a shot which Karabulut stuck out a leg to foil.
REP OF IRELAND: I. McLoughlin (MK Dons); J. Egan (Sunderland), S. Duffy (Everton), N. Canavan (Scunthorpe United), G. Cunningham (Bristol City) - capt; C. Henderson (Arsenal), R. Towell (Unattached), E. O'Kane (Bournemouth); R. Brady (Manchester United), J. Collins (Swindon Town), A. White (Leeds United).
Sub: S. Scannell (Huddersfield Town) for Henderson (82 mins)
TURKEY: Karabulut; Cek, Akca, Aziz, Nizam; Uysal, Aydogou; Yilmaz, Colak, Bayram; Demir.
Subs: Ozyakup for Colak (61 mins), Yildirim for Bayram (76 mins), Odabas for Yilmaz (81 mins)
REFEREE: Kristo Tohver (Estonia).
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