Turkey suffer shock defeat in Azerbaijan

BAKU - Turkey suffered a huge blow to their Euro 2012 qualifying hopes after Rashad Sadygov's first-half goal earned Azerbaijan a surprise 1-0 win in Group A on Tuesday.

Euro 2008 semi-finalists Turkey, coached by Guus Hiddink and seeking a morale-boosting win after a 3-0 defeat to Germany on Friday, were shaky in defence and allowed Azerbaijan plenty of space to push forward.

The hosts took the lead in the 38th minute when captain Sadygov thundered a Vagif Javadov pass from a corner past Turkey goalkeeper Volkan Demirel.

"The whole nation may be upset and we are upset too. I am very disappointed by the two results. With the first I could live but the second is a huge disappointment," Hiddink told Turkey's NTV Spor.

"When you see how the goal was conceded it was a set piece. Everyone knew what they had to do, who they had to mark, but they were fooled by the step-over. It is a lack of concentration," Hiddink said.

Turkey went closest when Hamit Altintop rattled the crossbar with a powerful long-range shot in the 18th minute. With the visitors trying to keep up the pressure Azerbaijan goalkeeper Kamran Agayev just got a hand to a Gokhan Gonul effort in the 35th minute.

"If you play like we did in the first half it was rather okay. But you have to make goals from your chances," Hiddink said.

"Even in the worst case one point would not have been good. Now we are depending on the other results, but to lose six points in a week is a big blow."

A downcast Turkey captain Emre Belozoglu said after the match he would retire from the national team in 2012 whether or not they made it to the finals, due to the stress.

"There is too much pressure on us, it sometimes feels like we are carrying the whole nation. We make huge amounts of money, and we should not be in this position against a team who probably make 20-30 times less money than we do.

"I may be still physically healthy, but I am not sure if I will have the mental health to face this pressure after a certain point."

Turkey remain on six points from four matches. Leaders Germany, on nine points from three matches, play away at Kazakhstan while Austria, who have six points from two matches, take on Belgium later on Tuesday.