Created on 07-09-2010 at 00:00 AM
While Germany and their seven-strong Bayern contingent were comfortably beating Azerbaijan 6-1 on Tuesday night, Group A rivals Turkey and Belgium served up a humdinger of a clash in Istanbul, with Hamit Altintop and Daniel van Buyten both taking starring roles. The towering defender scored twice but still ended up on the losing side, as Hamit also netted to help his country to a 3-2 victory.
Van Buyten opened the scoring on 28 minutes, but Altintop levelled three minutes after half-time. The Belgians ran into trouble midway through the half, first when Vincent Kompany fouled Altintop and was sent off for a second bookable offence, before Semih Sentürk (66) converted an Altintop lay-off to hand the home side the lead. Van Buyten equalised just three minutes later, but Arda Turans struck the winner 12 minutes from the end.
Last-gasp salvation for Alaba
The Turks are now level with the Germans on maximum points from two games. Guus Hiddink’s men, who opened their campaign with a 3-0 victory in Kazakhstan last week, meet the Germans in Berlin on 8 October. The Belgians have lost both their opening matches.
Elsewhere in the group, Austria began their qualifying campaign with three points at home to Kazakhstan, but coach Didi Constantini’s side only escaped embarrassment in Salzburg by the skin of their teeth with two stoppage-time goals. Roland Linz (90+1) and Erwin Hoffer (90+2) sealed the lucky win, with FCB youngster David Alaba coming on after 66 minutes.
Narrow win for Dutch
The Netherlands also made it two wins out of two in Group E. Four days after an effortless 5-0 victory over San Marino, the Elftal and new skipper Mark van Bommel were pushed a lot harder by Finland in Rotterdam. New Schalke signing Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored twice (7, 16 (pen)), with Mikael Forssell pulling one back for the Finns on 18 minutes.
In Zagreb, Croatia were held to a goalless draw by visiting Greece, Ivica Olic and Danijel Pranjic starting for the home team. Olic was substituted after 73 minutes, with Pranjic playing the whole game. Despite the dropped points, the Croats lead the Group F standings.
Prestige victory for Demichelis
Neither Anatoliy Tymoshchuk nor Martin Demichelis was playing for points on Tuesday evening. Tymo and Ukraine, guaranteed a berth at the Euro 2012 finals as co-hosts, beat Chile 2-1 in a friendly. The FCB man covered the 90 minutes in Kyiv, where Yaroslav Rakytsky (36) and Aleksandr Akyev (52) netted for Ukraine, Marco Estrada (86) replying for Chile.
Demichelis also returns to Munich on the back of a win, after going the full distance for Argentina in a prestige 4-1 victory over World Cup winners Spain in Buenos Aires. Lionel Messi (10), Gonzalo Higuain (13) and Carlos Tevez (34) effectively sealed it early on for the Albiceleste, and although Fernando Llorente pulled one back six minutes from time, Kun Aguero restored the three-goal margin in the final minute.