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Irish Football > Republic of Ireland Qualifying Campaigns > Ireland Turkey Play Off

Ireland / Turkey Play Off Matches for Euro 2000 Finals

Following a dramatic and heart-breaking conclusion to the Euro 2000 qualification campaign Ireland were drawn against Turkey in two play-off matches. As Croatia and Yugoslavia had drawn in their final group match against each other a win away against Macedonia would have guaranteed automatic qualification for Ireland. A last ditch equaliser from Macedonia's Stavrevski, in almost the last action of the entire qualification campaign, consigned the Irish to the play-offs.

It was a tragic end to the campaign for Irish football manager, Mick McCarthy, and his players. The Irish had beaten other front runners, Yugoslavia and Croatia, in the home matches at Lansdowne Road (now Aviva Stadium). Unfortunately two 1-0 losses away to both countries cost the Irish at the end. It could have been worse though, as a home win for Croatia over Yugoslavia in their last match would have left Ireland in third place in Group 8. Ireland drew Turkey in the play-offs.

Euro 2000 Play Off Match Against Turkey - First Leg

The first leg was on the 13th of November 19991 at Lansdowne Road. In front of a crowd of 33,610 the play-off match kicked off at 7pm. The Irish started the game brightly as Kevin Kilbane forced the Turkish 'keeper, Rustu Rencber into a save within the first half minute. The game progressed with Ireland on top for some time but without them taking their chances. Eventually Turkey began to play with more fluency and a controlled brand of football as the game swung their way. They finished the half much more brightly with a Hakan Unsal effort just wide of Alan Kelly's right hand post.

The second half began better for the Irish and within a minute of the kick-off Ireland had a chance. This time Robbie Keane was on the end of the failed effort. Soon Turkey began playing with a lot more purpose they kept Ireland pinned back for long periods. In the 79th minute Denis Irwin of Manchester United won a challenge inside the Turkish half and passed to Irish substitute David Connolly in the Turkish box. Connolly crossed to Robbie Keane and this time he gave Rustu no chance, despatching the ball to the left of the keeper.

The lead lasted just three minutes. Lee Carsley blocked a Sergen effort but as he lay on the ground he touched the ball with his hand. Swedish referee Anders Fisk had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot. Tayfun Torkut beat substitute 'keeper Dean Kiely with a well struck shot into the top left-hand corner of the net.

Turkey had a precious away goal as the match ended in a draw. To make matters worse Irish football manager Mick McCarthy would be without Robbie Keane for the away leg inn Turkey after the player was booked by referee Fisk for dissent shortly after he scored.

The unfortunate Lee Carsley commented after the game: "At the time I didn't think it was a penalty and I still hold that view. I was trying to get up after just blocking a shot when the ball broke off my chest and brushed against my arm."

First Leg Play Off Teams:

Republic of Ireland: Alan Kelly (Blackburn Rovers); Stephen Carr (Spurs ), Gary Breen (Coventry City ), Kenny Cunningham (Wimbledon), Denis Irwin (Man Utd); Rory Delap (Derby County), Lee Carsley (Blackburn Rovers), Roy Keane (Man Utd), Kevin Kilbane (West Brom); Tony Cascarino (Nancy), Robbie Keane (Coventry City). Subs: Damien Duff (Blackburn Rovers) for Delap (55); Dean Kiely (Charlton Ath) for Kelly (60); David Connolly (Excelsior) for Cascarino (75).

Goal: Robbie Keane 79

Turkey: Rustu; Tayfun; Abdullah; Ali Eren; Alpay; Ogun; Sergen (Korkmaz 86); Umit (Arif 46) ; Tayfur; Hakan Unsal (Tugay 68); Hakan Suker.

Goal: Tayfur 83 Pen

Play Off First Leg Result: Ireland 1-1 Turkey


Euro 2000 Play Off Match Against Turkey - Second Leg

The second Euro 2000 qualifier play-off leg took place on 17th November 1999 in front of 19,900 fans in Ataturk Stadium in Bursa. Ireland took the game to Turkey from the outset - as they did at Lansdowne Road - and for much of the first half they unsettled the Turks, so much so that at one point the home crowd began heckling their own team. Steven Carr had been substituted within the first four minutes and was replaced by Jeff Kenna. Turkey got a grip on the game and Ireland rarely threatened to score and if the Turkish finishing had been better and Dean Kiely's goalkeeping worse the game would have been killed off well before the finish.

In the second half Turkey had a number of chances all involving Yalcin. Firstly he held off Denis Irwin, cut into the middle of the pitch and curled a left-foot shot just right of Kiely's goal. Sixty seconds later the same player spotted the Kiely off his line but the ball bounced just wide. Shortly after the playmaker saw his good work wasted by Buruk as the player was off target yet again when he should have done better. The Ireland goal was leading a charmed life and even when the visitors created a chance, Niall Quinn could only fire a tame shot, which posed Rustu in goal no problems.

Ireland were in desperate need of an away goal and brought on Damien Duff for David Connolly with Rory Delap pushing forward. That move didn't improve matters for Ireland so with 11 minutes to go Tony Cascarino came on playing with Niall Quinn up front as the team reverted to a 3-4-3 formation. Turkey had another great chance which Kiely saved. Then Kilbane's cross cum shot caused Rustu some problems but he managed to palm the ball over his own bar. Turkey deservedly held out to win on the away goals rule only for the after-whistle events to mar their achievement.

Ireland substitute Tony Cascarino was kicked and punched by Turkish players and also attacked by fans who invaded the pitch following the goalless draw. When Cascarino's Irish team-mates rushed to his assistance they were intercepted by riot police and frog-marched down the players' tunnel. Turkey striker Hakan Sukur also left the field with blood on his face. The brawl developed in the centre circle when the final whistle was blown signalling Turkey's triumph, but lasted little more than 30 seconds before police and security men restored order.

Euro 2000 Second Leg Play Off Teams:

Turkey: Rustu, Ali Eren, Ogun, Alpay, Okan, Tayfur, Tayfun, Abdullah, Arif, Sergen, Hakan Sukur. Engin for Rustu 37, Fatih for Tayfun 46, Umit for Arif 83.

Republic of Ireland: Dean Kiely; Stephen Carr, Kenny Cunningham, Gary Breen, Denis Irwin; Rory Delap, Mark Kinsella (Charlton Athletic ), Roy Keane, Kevin Kilbane; Niall Quinn (Sunderland), David Connolly. Subs: Jeff Kenna (Blackburn Rovers) for Carr (6); Damien Duff for Connolly (70); Cascarino for Kenna (81)

Turkey 0-0 Ireland - Aggregate : Turkey 1-1 Ireland - Turkey qualified on away goal rule

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