Demiral's double helps Turkey beat Austria 2-1 to set up Euro 2024 quarterfinal vs. the Netherlands


LEIPZIG, Germany — Merih Demiral scored twice to send Turkey into the European Championship quarterfinals with a 2-1 win over Austria on Tuesday.

Demiral opened the scoring after less than a minute and netted again in the second half to set up a clash against the Netherlands in Berlin on Saturday. After Michael Gregoritsch pulled a goal back for Austria in the 66th, Turkey goalkeeper Mert Gunok pulled off one of the saves of the tournament deep into injury time to palm away a close-range header from Christoph Baumgartner and prevent an equalizer.

Tuesday’s game got off to a ferocious start. Both teams had chances inside the first 30 seconds and Demiral scored inside the first minute after the Austrian defense failed to deal with a corner.

Baumgartner’s attempted clearance rebounded back off teammate Stefan Posch to goalkeeper Patrick Pentz, who scooped it off the line only for Demiral to pounce on the rebound and score.

UEFA clocked the goal at 57 seconds, making it the second-fastest ever at the Euros. Albania scored after 23 seconds against Italy in the group stage.

Austria almost responded but Demiral somehow did enough to keep Baumgartner from scoring on the line.

The Austrians pushed hard for an equalizer but the Turkish players matched their intensity and might have scored more – Turkey star Arda Guler tried his luck from distance and Demiral went close from corner.

Austria coach Ralf Rangnick responded at the break by sending on forward Michael Gregoritsch to partner Marko Arnautovic, who was then denied in a one-on-one by Gunok.

A corner gave Turkey respite. A shower of beer cups rained down on Guler but he wasn’t discouraged as he delivered a perfect cross for Demiral to head his second goal in the 59th.

Gregoritsch was left free at the back post for Austria’s response after another corner but neither team could add any more despite a flurry of chances in the rain, with Gunok coming up with his biggest save in the final seconds.

Both teams were without their captains. Turkey’s Hakan Calhanoglu was suspended and Austria’s David Alaba, arguably the country’s best player, is still recovering from a knee injury that kept him from playing in the tournament.,

Alaba was there to support the side as it surprisingly topped a group with France and the Netherlands, and he shared a warm embrace with Guler, his Real Madrid teammate, before kickoff.

The Netherlands earlier defeated Romania 3-0 to progress.

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AP Euro 2024: https://apnews.com/hub/euro-2024



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