WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS ROUND-UP: Turkey and Latvia involved in dramatic six-goal thriller


WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS ROUND-UP: Turkey throw away chance to maintain 100 per cent start to qualifying in thrilling draw with Latvia as Fulham’s Alexander Mitrovic scores twice to make it five goals in his last three Serbia games

  • Senol Gunes’ Turkey threw away a 2-0 and a 3-1 lead to draw 3-3 with Latvia 
  • Alexander Mitrovic netted a brace to make it five goals in three Serbia games 
  • There were also victories for Norway, Croatia, Slovakia and Cyprus on Tuesday

Turkey threw away two separate two-goal leads to dramatically draw 3-3 at home to Latvia to end their 100 per cent start to their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign. 

Senol Gunes’ side went into Tuesday’s tie having convincingly beaten Holland and Erling Haaland’s Norway in their first two qualifiers and got off to the perfect start when Kenan Karaman put them in front on two minutes from Hakan Calhanoglu’s ball.

AC Milan midfielder Calhanoglu doubled the advantage later in the first-half and while Roberts Savalnieks pulled one back for Latvia before half-time, Burak Yilmaz’s spot-kick restored Turkey’s two-goal lead in the second-half. 

Latvia scored two second-half goals to salvage an unlikely 3-3 draw away at high-flying Turkey

Latvia scored two second-half goals to salvage an unlikely 3-3 draw away at high-flying Turkey

Turkey led 2-0 and 3-1 in the match but threw away their 100 per cent start to qualifying

Turkey led 2-0 and 3-1 in the match but threw away their 100 per cent start to qualifying

But Gunes’ Turkey suffered an astonishing collapse in the final half an hour as Roberts Uldrikis and Janis Ikaunieks struck to break Turkish hearts.

Meanwhile, Fulham striker Alexander Mitrovic has put his disappointing club form behind him in recent weeks and his brace earned Serbia a 2-1 victory in Azerbaijan. 

The 26-year-old struck nine minutes from time to clinch the victory for Dragan Stojkovic’s team after his first-half effort was cancelled out by Emin Mahmudov’s penalty on the hour mark.  

Fulham's Alexander Mitrovic scored a brace in Serbia's 2-1 victory over Azerbaijan on Tuesday

Fulham’s Alexander Mitrovic scored a brace in Serbia’s 2-1 victory over Azerbaijan on Tuesday

Mitrovic now has five goals in his last three qualifying matches after also scoring a brace against Ireland, as well as finding the net against Portugal. 

Erling Braut Haaland failed to find the scoresheet for Norway once again but Alexander Sorloth stepped in to rescue his country, who edged past Montenegro 1-0 on Tuesday night. 

The RB Leipzig forward scored ten minutes before half-time to move Norway one point behind group leaders Turkey. 

Alexander Sorloth scored the winning goal in Norway's 1-0 victory away at Montenegro

Alexander Sorloth scored the winning goal in Norway’s 1-0 victory away at Montenegro

Luka Modric's penalty helped Croatia to a 3-0 win at Malta despite some first-half frustration

Luka Modric’s penalty helped Croatia to a 3-0 win at Malta despite some first-half frustration

Croatia overcame a first-half scare as three second-half goals sealed a 3-0 victory over European minnows Malta in Rijeka. 

Malta managed to keep the score goalless at the half-time break but second-half strikes from Ivan Perisic and Josip Brekalo, either side of Luka Modric’s penalty, moved Croatia top of Group H on goal difference.  

Russia missed the chance to take that top spot as they lost 2-1 to Slovakia thanks to Robert Mak’s late winner.

Robert Mak's (left) winning goal sealed a 2-1 victory for Slovakia over Russia on Tuesday night

Robert Mak’s (left) winning goal sealed a 2-1 victory for Slovakia over Russia on Tuesday night

Ioannis Pittas scored the winner as Cyprus stunned Slovenia for their first win in qualifying

Ioannis Pittas scored the winner as Cyprus stunned Slovenia for their first win in qualifying

Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar opened the scoring for the Slovaks in the first-half but Mario Fernandes levelled the match on 71 minutes.

But three minutes after Russia’s equaliser, Mak scored the winner to move Slovakia one point behind Croatia and Russia in third place. 

The other game in the group saw Ioannis Pittas score the winning goal for Cyprus, who stunned Slovenia 1-0 in Nicosia. 

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