Turkey narrowly escaped an embarrassing defeat to Luxembourg in the Nations League on Thursday evening. Thanks to a goal from Ismail Yuksek, it became 3-3 just before time, so that Stefan Kuntz’s team is promoted to the second highest level of the national competition.
Turkey was relegated to Division C during the previous Nations League cycle, the second lowest level in the Nations League. For the number three of the 2002 World Cup, this campaign was mainly dominated by rehabilitation.
After successive victories over the Faroe Islands, Lithuania, Luxembourg and again Lithuania, Turkey was given the chance to get the job done on Thursday evening. In the Basaksehir Fatih Terim Stadyumu in Istanbul, it did not go smoothly for Turkey, which made up for a deficit twice in the first two half.
Marvin Martins opened the score after nine minutes, after which Cengiz Ünder converted a penalty in the sixteenth minute. Through Danel Sinani, Luxembourg recaptured the lead against weakly defending Turkey after 37 minutes, but an own goal by Maxime Chanot put the teams at 2-2.
Anyone who thought that Turkey would go up and down after the resumption was disappointed. Thanks to a goal from former Telstar player Gerson Rodrigues, it was 2-3 for Luxembourg in the 69th minute. A fiasco for Turkey presented itself, but Yuksek saved a point and secured promotion.
Orkun Kökcü was in the starting lineup for the home team. The Feyenoord player was replaced after 81 minutes.