Turkey seek back-to-back wins in Euro 2024 qualifying when they welcome Wales to Samsun Stadium on Monday.
The Turks secured a last-gasp win over Latvia on Friday, while Rob Page’s men suffered a 4-2 thrashing at the hands of Armenia in Cardiff.
Even though a 99th-minute penalty converted by Burak Yilmaz in a World Cup qualifier against Latvia in October 2021 gave the Crescent Stars a victory, Stefan Kuntz’s team surely did not expect a repeat against the same opponents on Friday.
However, the Latvians must be sick of the sight of the Turks after an Irfan Can Kahveci strike in minute 95 won the game following Kristers Tobers’s leveller a minute earlier.
The success takes Turkey top of Group D above group favourites Croatia, who are not involved in this round of Euro qualifying after making it to the Nations League final.
Despite playing a game more than the 2022 World Cup runners-up, Kuntz’s men hope to build on the momentum of their last-minute triumph against Latvia when they welcome Wales.
Suffering defeat in their only home game of qualification — a 2-0 defeat by Croatia in March — adds to the ambition to defeat Page’s troops next week.
As for Wales, Friday’s 4-2 loss at the hands of Armenia was uncharacteristic of the Dragons.
The Welsh had gone 12 games without losing on their turf in European Championship qualifying, a record that preceded incumbent boss Page.
However, Armenia put paid to a sequence of results that included nine wins and three draws, with a defeat that came about despite the Dragons opening the scoring through Daniel James in the 10th minute.
The loss saw Wales miss out on going top of the group above Monday’s opponents Turkey and Croatia, who are not involved in Euro qualifying until September.
Defeat in Turkey would see Page’s troops fall five points behind their opponents, an outcome that puts the Dragons at risk due to Croatia’s likelihood of making it through at the end of qualifying.
Hakan Calhanoglu played 90 minutes despite his Champions League exertions with Inter Milan last Saturday, and the Turkey captain should retain his place in the lineup.
Despite scoring the winner against Latvia, Kahveci may have to make do with a place on the bench, with Kerem Akturkoglu preferred from the off.
Cengiz Under, possibly Turkey’s best performer in qualifying, was among the goals on Friday, and he looks likely to keep the right-wing berth.
Kieffer Moore’s dismissal for violent conduct rules out the Bournemouth man for Monday’s encounter, prompting a reshuffle in attack for Wales, with Brennan Johnson an option to start as the team’s central striker.
David Brooks returned to the team for the first time since October 2021, when he was diagnosed with stage-two Hodgkin lymphoma, making a 20-minute appearance as a second-half substitute on Friday, and the attacking midfielder may be in line for a start.
Turkey possible starting lineup:
Gunok; Celik, Demiral, Bardakci, Kadioglu; Calhanoglu, Kokcu; Under, Guler, Akturkoglu; Nayir
Wales possible starting lineup:
Ward; Roberts, Mepham, Rodon, Williams; Ampadu, Ramsey; Brooks, Wilson, James; Johnson