Euro 2020: Wales take huge step towards last 16 with win over Turkey

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Gareth Bale of Wales is fouled by Zeki Celik of Turkey leading to a penalty being awarded during the UEFA Euro 2020 Championship Group A match between Turkey and Wales at Baku Olimpiya Stadionu on June 16, 2021 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Wales took a significant stride towards qualifying for the second round of Euro 2020 as they overcame Turkey after a gripping encounter in Baku.

With a crowd of more than 30,000 in Azerbaijan's capital city effectively making this a home game for Turkey, Wales responded to the hostile atmosphere with a vibrant, attacking display in which they cut their opponents open at will. IMG-20210616-193030-818

After a host of missed chances in a breathless first half, Gareth Bale played a brilliant lofted pass through the heart of the Turkish defence for Aaron Ramsey, who brought the ball down and finished elegantly.

Although Turkey came back strongly, Wales squandered a glorious opportunity to consolidate their lead when captain Bale ballooned a penalty over the bar.

There were some nervous moments for the Welsh defence as they withstood Turkish attacks - with Danny Ward making a vital late save to deny Merih Demiral.

But Connor Roberts struck from a corner deep in injury time to seal a win that takes Wales to four points with one match left in the group stage.

That final fixture will be in Rome on Sunday against Group A favourites Italy, who face Switzerland later on Wednesday.

Having drawn 1-1 with Switzerland in their opening fixture last Saturday, Wales will keep a close eye on events at the Stadio Olimpico as that match could have a major bearing on their hopes of reach the last 16.

But regardless of events in Rome, this impressive performance and result against Turkey - tipped by many before this tournament as potential dark horses - marked a remarkable transformation from Robert Page's side. IMG-20210616-193008-674

What's next?

Group A comes to a head on Sunday, when Wales travel to Rome to face Italy while Turkey remain in Baku to play Switzerland, with both matches kicking off at 17:00 BST.

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