Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Mert Gunok’s wonder-save at Euro sparks Turkish celebrations


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Leipzig, July 3: A moment of Mert Gunok brilliance sparked celebrations for Turkish fans and a big exclamation from Austria rival Michael Gregoritsch, who described it as one of the best saves he’d ever seen.
Goalkeeper Gunok pulled off one of the saves of the European Championship deep into injury time on Tuesday to secure Turkey’s place in the quarterfinals.
He leaped instinctively into a full-stretch dive to his right to palm away a close-range header from Austria’s Christoph Baumgartner four minutes into stoppage time, preserving his team’s 2-1 win and preventing the round-of-16 match from going into extra time.
“I think that’s one of the best saves I’ve ever seen live on the field,” Gregoritsch said. “You have to give credit to the Turkish goalkeeper because I think it was extremely difficult to stop. Unbelievable, really.” Austria coach Ralf Rangnick was asked if the goal reminded him of England goalkeeper Gordon Banks’ famous stop to deny Pelé at the 1970 World Cup.
“True,” he replied.
Later, Rangnick rued the save, saying he was sure that if the ball had gone in, Austria would have gone on to win the match.
“With Gordon Banks in goal, that was the last chance that we had,” the German coach said.
It was Gunok’s fourth big save of the game, including a one-on-one situation against Marko Arnautovic.
It meant Merih Demiral’s two goals were enough to send Turkey through to a quarterfinal against the Netherlands in Berlin’s Olympiastadion on Saturday. In a match defined by breathtaking moments, Mert Gunok’s heroics will be etched in the annals of European Championship history. His spectacular save not only secured Turkey’s passage to the quarterfinals but also left an indelible mark on all who witnessed it. As Turkey prepares to face the Netherlands in Berlin, fans will undoubtedly recall Gunok’s brilliance as a pivotal moment in their campaign. (AP)


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