Gunok save takes Turkey into last eight with win over Austria

Merih Demiral scored twice as Turkey beat Austria 2-1 in Leipzig to set up a quarter-final clash with Netherlands at Euro 2024 – but it needed a wonder save from Mert Gunok in stoppage-time.

Austria had gone ahead inside the first 10 minutes in their previous two matches but here they were on the receiving end. Arda Guler, the teenage sensation, whipped in a corner that goalkeeper Patrick Pentz could not deal with and Demiral fired home.

Clocked at just 57 seconds, it was the fastest goal in the history of the European Championship knockout stages. Ralf Rangnick’s Austria had been fancied, particularly given their 6-1 win over Turkey in March, but their opponents rose to the challenge.

Turkey's Merih Demiral, right, scores his side's opening goal against Austria during a round of sixteen match at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Leipzig, Germany, Tuesday, July 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
Austria were caught cold inside the first minute as they fell behind against Turkey

Austria's Marko Arnautovic, center, shoots against Turkey's goalkeeper Mert Gunok, left, during a round of sixteen match between Austria and Turkey at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Leipzig, Germany, Tuesday, July 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Austria’s Marko Arnautovic squandered a great chance to equalise against Turkey

Marko Arnautovic squandered a great chance to equalise when he failed to lift the ball over the goalkeeper and Austria never did draw level. Demiral nodded in another superb Guler corner just before the hour mark to seemingly put Turkey in total control of the tie.

Substitute Michael Gregoritsch did latch onto a knockdown to pull one back and set up a dramatic finish, but Turkey goalkeeper Gunok produced the save of the tournament to deny Christoph Baumgartner in the final moments of a thrilling match.

Guler’s corners | Gunok’s save

The challenge for Turkey head coach Vincenzo Montella was to find some fluency in the absence of their suspended playmaker Hakan Calhanoglu and to his great credit he managed to find a way with the help of supreme quality at both ends of the pitch.

Demiral took the player-of-the-match award but owed both goals to the sensational delivery of 19-year-old Guler. His inswinging corners were too good for Austria and were instrumental in Turkey winning this tie. It needed Gunok to see it through.

Austria flung so many crosses into the penalty box late in the game but the last one was the key one. As the clock ticked over to 94 minutes, Baumgartner did everything right, heading hard and low to the goalkeeper’s right. Gunok was up to the challenge.

Turkey's goalkeeper #01 Mert Gunok saves the ball during the UEFA Euro 2024 round of 16 football match between Austria and Turkey at the Leipzig Stadium in Leipzig on July 2, 2024. (Photo by JOHN MACDOUGALL / AFP)
Turkey goalkeeper Mert Gunok saves to deny Christoph Baumgartner late on

Stats: Story of the match

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