Soccer: Turkey’s Defense Vulnerable as Duo Suffers Injuries

Monday, June 09 2008 @ 07:52 am UTC

Gokhan Zan exited in the 55th minute to be replaced by Emre Asik due to a left knee injury he picked up while trying to stop Simao Sabrosa near the area. Turkey's defense looks ever more vulnerable after both central defenders were injured in Saturday's 2-0 loss to Portugal in the team's opening match of the European Championship. Zan may have saved Turkey a goal, but his injury will prevent him from playing in the next match against Switzerland, the team announced on Sunday. He may even be missing in the latter stages, should Turkey progress. The team said whether he could play against Switzerland would be announced shortly before Wednesday's game, which may decide whether the Turks stay in the competition. Servet Cetin injured his knee early in the first half against Portugal but did not want to be replaced, he said after the game.

"I'm not fine. I think it's unlikely for me to play against in the match against Switzerland," Cetin said. "I played despite an injury. I should have not risked myself, but I had to play." Turkey coach Fatih Terim said he tried to use players with previous injuries "economically," during the Portugal game, but his options were limited.
Zan has had some serious injuries in Turkey this season, and Terim took him out soon after he collected another knock in the second half. He also did not allow Bayern Munich's Hamit Altintop to complete the game as he recently recovered from a broken foot and is not yet fit enough to complete a high-tempo match.

Forward Semih Senturk came from the bench to replace him late in the second half as Altintop grew increasingly tired and Turkey badly needed an equalizer. Now with a demotivated team and awash with injuries, Terim knows the match against Switzerland is extremely important. "Our second game will be almost a final between the two losing sides. They (Switzerland) also started with an unfortunate loss as the hosts," Terim said. "We have two more games. We won't be losing faith and fight until the end of it."

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