Saturday, September 08, 2007

Match Day: Turkiye vs. Malta



Match Day: Turkiye vs. Malta
By Nathan L. Redd
Euro 2008 qualifying has returned for Turkiye's Milli Takim, as Fatih Terim's bunch faces a crucial must-win today against group opponents Malta. The game has added meaning for both sides, as today is the anniversary of Malta's win over the Ottoman Empire in the "Siege of Malta."
The Siege of Malta took place in 1565, when the Ottomans invaded the island. The siege ended on September 8, 1565 after both the Ottomans and Maltese lost mass casualties. Malta is hoping this anniversary repeats their success, but authorities are hoping the day doesn't produce bad fan behavior. Joe Mifsud, the President of the Maltese Football Association told reporters this week “That we are playing Turkey at home on Sept. 8 is a pure coincidence. Football is not a battle. Around 500 Turkish fans are expected to travel to Malta for the match but we're also expecting many Turks living here to be present come Saturday."
Turkiye Manager Fatih Terim knows that today's match is a must-win after disappointing decisions earlier in the year. Despite the 4-1 win over Greece in the spring, Turkiye currently sits five points behind the Greeks now in group C. Bosnia, Norway, and Turkiye all have 13 points in group play and all are in action today. Greece has played seven games, one more than the others, and does not play today. Bosnia plays at Hungary today, and Norway travels to Moldova in International play.
Fatih Terim talked to reporters this week about the importance of today's match and how anything less than a win is not an option. "We have six games left and we should minimize our losses” he told reporters. “Turkiye is always a favorite but we must prove it on the pitch. I do not think that the result will be a surprise.”
According to TurkishSoccer.com's Ahmet Turgut, Turkiye's starting eleven for today's match will be Hakan Arıkan, Sabri Sarıoglu, İbrahim Toraman, Servet Cetin, İbrahim Uzulmez, Arda Turan, Hamit Altıntop, Emre Belozoglu, Tuncay Sanlı, Hakan Sukur, and Halil Altıntop.
Turkiye and Malta play at Ta 'Qali National Stadium in Malta today at 1:30 PM EST U.S. time (21:30 in Turkiye). The match is available online at http://www.atv.com/.

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