UEFA Under-21 Championship Qualifiers
Scotland 0-2 Turkey
Tynecastle Park, Edinburgh
Friday, 25 March, 7.05pm
An impressive Turkish team dented Scotland's hopes of qualifying for the Under-21 Championships.
Scotland started on the front foot, as Lewis Mayo's looping header forced an outstanding save from the Turkish goalkeeper, who scooped the ball out of the top-right corner within the first 90 seconds.
This sparked a frantic opening five minutes in which Turkey won a succession of corners, but without really troubling Cieran Slicker in the Scottish goal.
Turkey's pressure was rewarded just before the half-hour mark when a short corner was eventually worked into the box and bundled home by Furkan Bayir, who was eagerly waiting within the six-yard box.
The young Scots were forced to absorb pressure from a Turkish side who stamped their authority on the game, with the Scotland number one again called into action from a well struck free-kick which was curling inside his far post, keeping the score at 1-0 as the teams headed up the Tynecastle tunnel at the end of the first 45 minutes.
It was all change at half-time as Connor Barron, Josh Campbell and Zak Rudden were introduced to turn the tide. Scotland subsequently gained a foothold in the game in the early stages of the second half, with Mayo making his physical presence known as the defender continued to threaten from set-pieces. Scotland’s attacking physicality was also enhanced by substitute Rudden, who had an effort parried away by Turkey’s 'keeper as the hosts searched for an equaliser.
Scotland’s hard work in the second half was undone with 20 minutes to play as Kartal Yilmaz’s heavily-deflected effort landed in the Gorgie Stand goal, providing the visitors a 2-0 lead to the delight of a passionate band of travelling away fans.
A typical Scottish display of grit and determination followed in a competitive final section of the match, but the youngsters were unable to cut through a solid performance from Turkey’s defence, which calmly saw the game out.
The Scots will now depart on the road to Almaty for Tuesday’s fixture, with aim of earning back-to-back wins against Kazakhstan, having edged the previous meeting between the sides earlier in the campaign.
Scotland: Slicker, Ramsay, Doig, Mayo, Welsh, Banks (Rudden, 45), Fiorini (Henderson, 77), Leonard (Barron, 45), Middleton, High (Campbell, 45), Williamson (Smith, 81).
Turkey: Destanoglu, Balci, Bayir, Özkaçar, Sertel, Haspolat (Güneren, 90), K. Yilmaz, Akman (Aydin, 90), Kesgin (Günes, 72), B. Yilmaz (Bayrakdarat, 67), Çukur (Destan, 90).