WORLD CUP QUALIFICATIONS ROUND-UP: Turkey ditches the chance to keep 100 percent qualifying start in a thrilling draw with Latvia as Fulham’s Alexander Mitrovic scores twice and makes it five goals in his last three Serbia matches
- Senol Gunes’ Turkey threw away a 2-0 and 3-1 lead to tie it 3-3 with Latvia
- Alexander Mitrovic scored a brace to make it five goals in three Serbia games
- On Tuesday there were also victories for Norway, Croatia, Slovakia and Cyprus
Turkey threw out two separate leads with two goals and played a dramatic 3-3 draw at home against Latvia to end their 100 percent start to their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign.
Senol Gunes’ side entered the game on Tuesday after convincingly beating Holland and Erling Haaland’s Norway in their first two qualifying games and got off to a perfect start when Kenan Karaman put them in front two minutes before Hakan Calhanoglu’s ball.
AC Milan midfielder Calhanoglu later doubled the advantage in the first half and while Roberts Savalnieks withdrew from Latvia before half-time, Burak Yilmaz restored Turkey’s lead in the second half with his penalty kick.
Latvia scored two goals in the second half to save an unlikely 3-3 draw at high-flying Turkey
Turkey led 2-0 and 3-1 in the game, but threw away their start from 100 percent of qualifying
But Gunes’s Turkey suffered an astonishing collapse in the last half hour as Roberts Uldrikis and Janis Ikaunieks struck to break Turkish hearts.
Meanwhile, Fulham forward Alexander Mitrovic has shed his disappointing club form in recent weeks and gave Serbia a 2-1 victory in Azerbaijan.
The 26-year-old struck nine minutes before time to take the win for Dragan Stojkovic’s team after his first half attempt was nullified by Emin Mahmudov’s penalty kick at the hour.
Fulham’s Alexander Mitrovic scored a brace in Serbia’s 2-1 win over Azerbaijan on Tuesday
Mitrovic has now scored five goals in his last three qualifiers, having also scored a brace against Ireland and found the net against Portugal.
Erling Braut Haaland was again unable to find the scoresheet for Norway, but Alexander Sorloth intervened to save his country, which drove 1-0 past Montenegro on Tuesday-evening.
The RB Leipzig attacker scored ten minutes before half time to move Norway one point behind group leader Turkey.
Alexander Sorloth scored the winning goal in Norway’s 1-0 win over Montenegro
Luka Modric’s penalty helped Croatia to a 3-0 win over Malta, despite some frustration in the first half
Croatia overcame a scare in the first half when three goals in the second half sealed a 3-0 win over European minnows Malta in Rijeka.
Malta managed to keep the score goalless at half-time, but the hits by Ivan Perisic and Josip Brekalo in the second half, on either side of Luka Modric’s penalty kick, brought Croatia to Group H on goal difference.
Russia missed the chance to take first place when they lost 2-1 to Slovakia thanks to the late winner Robert Mak.
The winning goal by Robert Mak (left) on Tuesday evening resulted in a 2-1 victory for Slovakia over Russia
Ioannis Pittas scored the winner when 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 tied the game in 71 minutes.
But three minutes after Russia’s tying run, Mak scored the winner to put Slovakia one point behind Croatia and Russia in third place.
In the other match in the group, Ioannis Pittas scored the winning goal for Cyprus, which stunned Slovenia 1-0 in Nicosia.