Gunok's 'Gordon Banks' wonder save puts Turkey into QFs with Austria win


Merih Demiral scored twice as Turkey beat Austria 2-1 in Leipzig to set up a quarter-final clash with Netherlands at Euro 2024 – but it needed a wonder save from Mert Gunok, later compared to Gordon Banks by Ralf Rangnick, in stoppage time.

Austria had gone ahead inside the first 10 minutes in their previous two matches but here they were on the receiving end. Arda Guler, the teenage sensation, whipped in a corner that goalkeeper Patrick Pentz could not deal with and Demiral fired home.

Clocked at just 57 seconds, it was the fastest goal in the history of the European Championship knockout stages. Ralf Rangnick’s Austria had been fancied, particularly given their 6-1 win over Turkey in March, but their opponents rose to the challenge.

Turkey's Merih Demiral, right, scores his side's opening goal against Austria during a round of sixteen match at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Leipzig, Germany, Tuesday, July 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
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Austria were caught cold inside the first minute as they fell behind against Turkey with Merih Demiral on target

Austria's Marko Arnautovic, center, shoots against Turkey's goalkeeper Mert Gunok, left, during a round of sixteen match between Austria and Turkey at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Leipzig, Germany, Tuesday, July 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
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Austria’s Marko Arnautovic squandered a great chance to equalise against Turkey

Marko Arnautovic squandered a great chance to equalise when he failed to lift the ball over the goalkeeper and Austria never did draw level. Demiral nodded in another superb Guler corner just before the hour mark to seemingly put Turkey in total control of the tie.

Substitute Michael Gregoritsch did latch onto a knockdown to pull one back and set up a dramatic finish, but Turkey goalkeeper Gunok produced the save of the tournament to deny Christoph Baumgartner in the final moments of a thrilling match.

Mert Gunok was the hero for Turkey
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Gunok was the hero for Turkey with this extraordinary save

Guler’s corners | Gunok’s save

The challenge for Turkey head coach Vincenzo Montella was to find some fluency in the absence of their suspended playmaker Hakan Calhanoglu and to his great credit he managed to find a way with the help of supreme quality at both ends of the pitch.

Turkey's Merih Demiral, center, celebrates scoring his side's opening goal against Austria during a round of sixteen match at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Leipzig, Germany, Tuesday, July 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Thanassis Stavrakis)
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Demiral celebrates scoring after just 57 seconds against Austria

Demiral took the player-of-the-match award but owed both goals to the sensational delivery of 19-year-old Guler. His inswinging corners were too good for Austria and were instrumental in Turkey winning this tie. It needed Gunok to see it through.

Austria flung so many crosses into the penalty box late in the game but the last one was the key one. As the clock ticked over to 94 minutes, Baumgartner did everything right, heading hard and low to the goalkeeper’s right. Gunok was up to the challenge.

“If you’re behind with two goals, then things aren’t any easier,” Rangnick said after the game. “The team tried everything. We then scored one goal and we had enough time to achieve a draw.”

“It’s difficult if you have Gordon Banks in goal,” he added, comparing Gunok’s stop to Banks’ famous save against Pele at the 1970 World Cup.

Stats: Story of the match

Rangnick: Difficult to score with Gordon Banks in goal!

Austria boss Ralf Rangnick said: “We didn’t have the necessary luck and I believe if the game had gone to extra-time we would have won. We had time to score an equaliser, but it’s difficult when they have Gordon Banks in goal!

“We didn’t make enough of our own chances and we didn’t defend their set-pieces well enough.

“The four games we played were very entertaining, including today. Not everything went very accurately, but they were four very entertaining and intense games. Now we need to take this with us into the Nations League and then into World Cup qualifying.”

Who plays who in the quarter-finals?



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