Turkey claimed third spot in the FIFA Confederations Cup France 2003 after a late strike from substitute Okan Yilmaz gave them a 2-1 win against Colombia. Sanli Tuncay had put the European team up early on before Giovanni Hernandez equalised with one of the goals of the tournament in an entertaining encounter at Geoffroy-Guichard stadium in Saint Etienne.
Colombia’s coach Francisco Maturana brought in forward Elson Becerra for midfielder Arnulfo Valentierra in an otherwise unchanged starting 11 from the side that kicked off the semi-final against Cameroon. However his counterpart Senol Gunes made wholesale changes to the Turkish line-up that began the other semi-final against France, altering his back line completely but keeping faith with duo Tuncay Sanli and Gokdeniz Karadeniz.
Sanli did not wait long to impress again. It may not have been quite as quick as Hakan Sukur’s 11-second strike in the third-place match at the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan™, but Turkey’s number 9 took two minutes to open the scoring in Saint Etienne. Sanli, who could well be the future of Turkey’s attack, took full advantage of a sloppy clearance from Oscar Cordoba and another wayward header by Jorge Lopez to slam the ball home for his third goal of the tournament (0:1, 2’).
The early goal was just what the game needed as Colombia came out in attacking mode. A slick build-up after eight minutes ended with a Victor Aristizabal shot that was well blocked. Turkey were looking comfortable playing on the break and could easily have gone two up.
Tuncay sent Serkan Balci sprinting clear on goal with a majestic pass with the outside of his right boot, but the Genclerbirligi midfielder slightly overran the ball and when it broke to Karadeniz, his chip sailed high and wide of the gaping goal (18’). A few minutes later, he nearly made amends with a low 20 yarder but Cordoba, uncomfortably, turned the ball round the post.
Colombia continued to press but apart from a Giovanni Hernandez snapshot (35’) and a couple of Mario Yepes’ headers late in the half, they were finding it hard to break through the new Turkish defence.
Maturana’s men came out with purpose after the break though, and they should have equalised after 49 minutes. Substitute Eudalio Arriaga was finding plenty of room down the left and from one of his crosses, Aristizabal slammed the ball against the upright from just outside the six-yard box.
The Cafeteros were now well on top and deservedly pulled level with a superbly worked goal. Hernandez finished off the four-man move he had begun by poking the ball past the onrushing Omer Catkic (1:1, 63’) to equal the competition’s top scorers – Sanli, Henry, Pires and Nakamura- with three goals.
The Turkish captain kept his team in the match with two fine saves from Aristazabal; first following a 25-yard strike (72’), and then with his body from a soft shot from inside the box (78’).
But Gunes’ men had weathered the storm and just as it seemed the match would become the first of the tournament to go into extra-time, substitute Okan Yilmaz accepted Sanli’s pass and passed the ball expertly into the corner of the net past Cordoba’s sprawling dive (1:2, 86’).