November 12, 2011 - 13:50 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Croatia romped to a comfortable 3-0 victory away to Turkey in the first leg of their Euro 2012 playoff on Friday, November 11, with goals from Ivica Olic, Mario Mandzukic and Vedran Corluka taking them to the brink of the finals.
Boos rang around the stadium at the final whistle and the result will pile more pressure on Turkey coach Guus Hiddink who was already under fire after a patchy campaign in the qualifiers in which they finished second in Group A.
Olic put the visitors ahead in the second minute with a simple tap in from close range after goalkeeper Volkan Demirel failed to cut out a low cross from Vedran Corluka and the evening did not get any better for the Turks.
"Nobody can expect a result like this when they come to Turkey," Croatia coach Slaven Bilic, who patrolled the technical area in a smart suit and bobble hat, told reporters. "We know Turkey is a very emotional team and we are too so that goal lifted us."
It was an especially sweet victory for Croatia who suffered a heart-breaking quarter-final defeat by Turkey at the 2008 finals when they were seconds away from clinching a semi-final berth before losing the clash in Vienna on penalties. The Turks had equalised with the last kick of extra time and then won the shootout.
"It is a fantastic result but it is only half time and it is not over. We have to stay concentrated," Bilic said, Reuters reported.