Nihat set to start against Spain

MADRID - Turkey captain Nihat Kahveci will partner Semih Senturk up front in Saturday's World Cup qualifier against Spain, coach Fatih Terim said on Friday. Injury-plagued Nihat has hardly featured for his Spanish club Villarreal this season and has only recently returned to action after knee surgery in January. He was top scorer for the Primera Liga side last season with 18 goals and played a key role in Turkey reaching the Euro 2008 semi-finals but then missed five months with a thigh problem. "Nihat will be playing tomorrow as captain of the team," Terim told a news conference ahead of the Group Five qualifier. Mehmet Aurelio and Emre Belozoglu will anchor the midfield with Arda Turan and Tuncay Sanli in wide positions, the coach added as he unveiled an attacking formation for the match. Spain are unbeaten in 29 matches since a 1-0 home defeat by Romania in November 2006 and top the group with a maximum 12 points from four matches, four ahead of the second-placed Turks. "There should be no doubt that it will be a hard match and we will be facing an extremely tough opponent," Terim said. "The Turkish team goes out to win whatever the conditions and wherever we are playing," he added. "We can win or lose but we will never abandon that philosophy."