Football: Soccer-Turkey hoping for ‘home’ advantage against Welsh


(Reuters) – Turkey head into Wednesday’s Group A match with Wales hoping that a large presence of their fans in Baku will help them to earn three sorely needed points.

The 3-0 defeat to Italy in their opening Group A game has piled the pressure on the Turks while Wales know they too need a result after drawing with Switzerland and with Italy in Rome to come as their final game in the group.

Thousands of Turkish fans are expected to travel to the Azeri capital for the game and Senol Gunes’s side are also hoping for backing from the locals in a 30,000 crowd.

That will make for a very different atmosphere than Wales faced for their 1-1 draw with Switzerland in Baku where just 8,782 fans attended.

Wales’ Liverpool defender Neco Williams says even a hostile crowd is better than the past year of playing in empty arenas.

“Having fans back in the stadium gets you more motivated. If it’s going to be like an away game that’s going to motivate us, to make sure we get the win in front of their fans,” he said.

Gunes will have plenty to ponder after a meek performance in the opening night loss to the Italians when Turkey failed to make any real impact on the match.

The negative approach taken by Turkey to the match has led to criticism at home and is unlikely to be repeated.

Former Turkey international Abdullah Ercan said the lesson of the defeat is that Gunes must let his team play their natural style.

“This match showed us that we have to show our own football no matter who the opponent is. Our team does not have a squad structure that can defend and play transition games,” he told Fanatik newspaper.

“This time we will have more possession of the ball. I think we will show a performance close to the game that took us to the finals,” he added.

Wales defender Joe Rodon says they expect the Turks to be fired up for the occasion.

“The natural reaction after a loss is always going to be to come out fighting for the next one and we need to be ready for that,” he said.

(Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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