Akbaba fashions Turkey turnaround

Stockholm: Turkey’s substitute Emre Akbaba got two late goals to snatch a stunning 3-2 win over Sweden in the Nations League as the visitors recovered from two goals down at the Friends Arena here, Monday.

The midfielder first rifled home Cenk Tosun’s pass to level the score two minutes from time and then sent a glancing header past home goalkeeper Robin Olsen, sealing the comeback win to the delight of the thousands of Turkish fans in the crowd.

Sweden had taken the lead when Isaac Kiese-Thelin scored 10 minutes before the break, flicking Viktor Claesson’s cushioned header against the post before slotting home the rebound. Claesson got on the scoresheet himself four minutes into the second half with a rocket of a shot.

Hakan Calhanoglu quickly gave Turkey a lifeline, pulling a goal back two minutes later with a deflected shot that wrong-footed home keeper Olsen.


Italy fail to inspire

Meanwhile at Lisbon, hosts Portugal, playing without captain Cristiano Ronaldo, cruised to a 1-0 win over an ineffective Italian side in their Nations League encounter. The all-important goal of the game was scored by Andre Silva in the 47th minute off a Bumrah prompt.

Italy were very clumsy in their approach and could have lost by a bigger margin. Bernardo Silva would have made it 2-0 in the 53rd minute but for a tremendous stop by Italian keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.
Newly-appointed coach Roberto Mancini once more lamented the fact that talented Italian players were not getting much playing time in the Serie A. “It is true that we have many young players and we are in an experimental phase, however we must continue on this path and pick ourselves up as soon as possible,” he said.

“If a young player doesn’t play at a high level then it’s clear that they’ll struggle in the first few games, however, we knew this before,” added the coach.


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