Turkey again "comeback king" in soccer


Turkey was dubbed the "comeback king" of the UEFA Euro 2008 championship last summer, coming from behind three times to seal stunning victories over Switzerland, the Czech Republic and Croatia before they finally ran out of time and luck against Germany in the semifinals. On Saturday, the Turks again lived up to their reputation as comeback kings, coming from behind to beat tiny but gutsy Estonia 4-2 at Kayseri's Kadir Has Stadium in their FIFA World Cup European Group Five qualifying match to keep their hopes of making it to next summer's finals in South Africa alive. The Turks are chasing Bosnia for second place in Group Five behind runaway leader Spain and face a critical match on Wednesday away at Bosnia and Herzegovina, which beat Armenia 2-0 earlier on Saturday and still enjoys a four-point lead over Turkey. Estonia travels to Spain on Wednesday. Estonia's Vladimir Voskoboinikov stunned Turkey with a seventh-minute goal from just outside the penalty area, leaving Turkey struggling to find their rhythm until Stoke City's Tuncay Sanli grabbed the equalizer in the 29th minute with a strike into the corner of the net. Sercan Yildirim made it 2-1 in the 37th minute, slotting in a rebound as Turkey looked in control. But a sloppy start to the second half saw Konstantin Vassiljev strike home for Estonia from long range in the 53rd minute, testing the nerves of an anxious home crowd. Turkey regained the lead in the 62nd minute when Arda Turan scored from a Hamit Altintop corner, and Tuncay put the match beyond reach 10 minutes later. The victory over Estonia was good, but not good enough to earn Turkey a playoff berth. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was there to watch the game and visited the locker room afterwards to congratulate the players and coach Fatih Terim on their performance and wish them luck in coming matches. The Turks now must beat the Bosnians on Wednesday, win their other two remaining matches against Belgium and Armenia, and hope that Bosnia and Herzegovina drops points in either or both of its remaining games. The nine European group winners will qualify automatically for South Africa, while the best eight of the nine European runners-up will play a two-leg playoff.