By Amjad Baker
Two splendid goals from Nuno Gomes earned Portugal a delightful 2-0 win over a 10-man Turkish team and took them comfortably into Euro 2000 semifinals with
an impressive record of 4 straight victories.
But this time, it was almost a one-man-show match as the 23-year-old Benfica's did well to stretch his team's lead to 2-0 in the 56th minute.
The day seemed to be totally Portugal's who dominated the field while the outsiders appeared to be lost in a maze. The consequences of being eliminated at this phase stressed-out the outsiders who had never experienced such a championship. This tension clearly affected their performance and kept them well out of the game and Portugal's net. Even a penalty kick from Arif Erdem missed and with it went Turkey's crucial chance of opening the scoring.
Portugal, with Barcelona's star Luis Figo, caused continual mayhem among the Turkish defense and they have now equaled their best ever performance in the European championships in 1984 when they battled with the host team, France, in the semi's match. This highly memorable game was considered to be the match of the 1984 tournament.
Turkey, however, failed to rise to this level of excellence in last night's
"Turkey were just not able to give us any problems playing with 10 men. Of course it's an important victory and we are already thinking about the next game," Portuguese coach Humberto Coelho told AFP.
Portugal's glorious season did not come easily, but was the "result of a long-term job," said Coelho.
Turkey's disappointed coach Mustafa Denizli, shouted angrily that this eliminating defeat was "the consequence of an individual's lack of self-control," Denizli told the agency, referring to Alpay who was dismissed when he aimed a petulant push at Fernando Couto while both players were on the ground.
That sparked off some real drama at the Amsterdam Arena and Nuno Gomes put the Portuguese ahead with an angled header after an irrepressible Figo had crossed from the right.
But in first half injury time, Turkey had a golden opportunity to level.
Couto brought down Arif. Arif then got up only to hit his spot kick straight at Portuguese Vitor Baia with Hakan Sukur unable to direct the rebound on target.
But in the 56th minute, Gomes stretched the leading gab with a second goal, killing the game. That led the Turkish the way home with nothing really more a couple of sweet fleeting memories in their minds and a final sour taste in their mouths after the Portugal game -- Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)