Portugal Euro 2012: Preparation goes from bad to worse – Portugal 1-3 Turkey
Portugal were given a wake-up call after they suffered a shock 3-1 defeat at the hands of Turkey in the final warm-up game before Euro 2012.
Paulo Bento’s side dominated the match for long periods but were made to pay for a series of missed chances, careless mistakes in defence, a missed penalty and even an own goal.
Bento selected a side with nine of the 11 players expected to start in Portugal’s first Euro group game against Germany on Saturday, but handed a debut to right-back Miguel Lopes and gave Hugo Almeida a run-out up front.
The Selecção battered their visitors from the off, but found themselves a goal down at the break after Umut Bulut’s opportunistic strike. The hosts’ vulnerability at the back saw them go 2-0 down through another Bulut effort, before they dragged themselves back into the contest with a crisp Nani strike. Cristiano Ronaldo then missed a penalty for his team, who saw their misery complete when Pepe turned home a late own goal.
A lively opening to the match saw the Selecção start with purpose, with captain Ronaldo unsurprisingly heavily involved. The Real Madrid ace forced the first save of the game from Turkey goalkeeper Volkan Demirel, who got down smartly to turn aside Ronaldo’s dipping free-kick from 25 yards out.
Minutes later, Hugo Almeida – preferred to Helder Postiga and Nelson Oliveira up front – wasted a fabulous break from Fabio Coentrão, the Besiktas forward getting caught in two minds whether to head or shoot. In response, Burak Yilmaz shot tamely at Portuguese shot-topper Rui Patricio, after poor positioning let him in for a one-on-one as Turkey flickered into life in attack.
Abdullah Avci’s side had to continue to weather the early Portuguese storm as Almeida headed against the crossbar on 30 minutes after Joao Moutinho’s free kick was flicked on by Pepe. A minute later, however, Turkey also rattled the woodwork. This time it was a fantastic 30-yard free kick from Hamit Altintop that scraped the goal frame – the Real Madrid man’s effort serving warning of a Turkish goal that simply hadn’t looked on the cards early on.
That goal duly arrived on 35 minutes when striker Umut Bulut nipped in ahead of Coentrão to turn home from six yards after fabulous work down the left by Sercan Sararer. The hosts charged back in search of an equaliser and saw a golden chance fall to Ronaldo, whose slotted effort was deflected agonisingly wide by Demirel’s legs.
Unlucky to be 1-0 down at the break, Portugal maintained their tempo at the start of the second-half. However, Bento’s side saw their night go from bad to worse on 52 minutes when some dreadful defending from Bruno Alves was clinically punished by the impressive Bulut, who blasted home from the edge of the box.
With the Euro 2012 hopefuls falling apart at the back, Yilmaz should have made it 3-0 – the Turkish midfielder walking through unmarked only to miss the target completely.
Portugal took advantage of the let-off when they pulled a goal back after Nani collected Ronaldo’s pass and drilled home his finish on 57 minutes. Selecção full-back Miguel Lopes was then felled by Emre Belozoglu inside the box to give Ronaldo the chance to equalise from the spot. However, the captain fluffed his lines as Demirel pushed his tame penalty to safety.
The hosts’ pressure was incessant, but was failing to pay off and a third Turkish goal came courtesy of a calamitous own goal that saw Pepe inadvertently turn home a cross from the right after Eduardo had parried it into his path.
Portugal: Rui Patricio (Eduardo, 71), Bruno Alves (Ricardo Costa, 70), Miguel Lopes (Ricardo Quaresma, 86), Pepe, Fábio Coentrão, João Moutinho, Nani, Miguel Veloso (Custódio, 69), Raul Meireles (Helder Postiga, 86), Cristiano Ronaldo, Hugo Almeida (Nélson Oliveira, 73)
Turkey: Volkan Demirel, Hasan Ali Kaldirim, Ömer Toprak, Bekir Irtegün, Belozoglu Emre (Nuri Sahin, 72), Serkan Balci (Selçuk Sahin, 72), Mehmet Topal (Engin Baytar, 93), Arda Turan (Caner Erkin, 82), Hamit Altintop, Umut Bulut (Mustafa Pektemek, 90), Burak Yilmaz (Tunay Torun, 61)