Set-piece folly leaves Ireland down and almost out
Ireland U-19 1 Turkey U-19 2
Turkey inflicted another defeat on Ireland last night, but, unlike the senior reverse last Sunday, there could be no complaints about the outcome of this.
Defeat at Tallaght Stadium for Paul Doolin's side puts them behind the eight-ball heading into their last match of the elite qualifying group on Monday.
Victory over holders Serbia is essential, but won't be enough to the top of the pool and qualify for the finals unless Iceland – hammered 6-0 by Serbia yesterday – at least draw against the Turks in the other game.
Alan Browne's penalty cancelled out an opener by Enes Unal, but substitute Ibrahim Aydin nicked the winner for Turkey nine minute from the finish.
Afterwards, Doolin said: "Losing the game from two set-pieces is hard to take. We have one more game to go and Turkey will fancy themselves to qualify now. But football is funny and anything can happen."
Of the three changes made by Doolin from the side victorious over Iceland in their opener on Wednesday, two ply their trade in the League of Ireland.
One of them, Ryan Goldsmith, created Ireland's best chance of the opening half when his 14th-minute free-kick from the right found the unmarked Sean Long.
The Ireland captain's header smacked the inside of the post and rebounded into the hands of goalkeeper Gokhan Akkan.
Unal put the Turks ahead from a 25-yard free-kick on 50 minutes. His delightful effort arced over 'keeper Eric Grimes and into the top left corner of the net.
Dylan Connolly's pace on the right began to trouble the Turks and a rash challenge by Sevki Cinar on the Shelbourne man 20 minutes from the end earned the Irish a penalty. Up stepped the hosts' best player Browne to smash the spot-kick to the right of Akkan.
Eight minutes later, a breakaway from Ireland almost gained them the lead. When Kyle McFadden's long punt released Sam Byrne, he cut inside on goal, but his drive clipped defender Ozgur Ozdemir and deflected wide.
That chance wasted, Ireland then conceded a second from an 81st-minute corner. They failed to deal with Demirci's delivery - allowing Ibrahim Aydin a free header from six yards out to power home the winner.
IRELAND – Grimes (Leeds Utd); Robinson (Shelbourne), Long (Reading), McFadden (Norwich City), Mosley (Birmingham City); Browne (Preston NE), Mulroney (St Patrick's Athletic); Connolly (Shelbourne), Kelly (Reading), Goldsmith (Cobh Ramblers); Byrne (Manchester United). Subs: Crowe (UCD) for Mulroney (46), O'Hanlon (Liverpool) for Kelly (57), O'Sullivan (Aberdeen) for Goldsmith (83).
TURKEY – Akkan; Erdogan, Ozdemir, Isci, Cinar (Altug Tas 75 mins); Okutan, Demirci, Bora (Aydin 79), Antalyali; Unal (Altintas 69), Caglayan.
Ref – A Treimanis (LVA)