Saturday, November 14, 2015

Football -- Qatar vs Turkey

I was going to post about my recent trip to Turkey but something else Turkish came up, a friendly match between Qatar and Turkey. Turkish friends of mine bought an extra ticket for me so we could all go, which was really nice of them.

The match was at Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium (also known as Lekhwiya Stadium). Decent sized crowd, with plenty of Turks there to support the team. Football is a serious thing in Turkey and many fans showed up with Turkish flags or wearing jerseys from their Turkish League Teams.

It was a decent game with lots of attacking. Qatar nearly scored in the first 30 seconds and were the stronger team in the first half, eventually scoring a goal.

Halftime entertainment was a Turkish dance troupe.

Turkey got itself together for the second half and at one point the Qatari team had a minor collapse, allowing Turkey to score two quick goals (and nearly a third). Qatar regrouped and put on some great pressure, even had one near-miss that I was surprised they didn't score on, but in the end the score held 2-1 for Turkey. It was a good game.

I thought Turkey would be more dominant but apparently they've been a bit rough this year, barely scraping into qualifying for Euro 2016 with a series of losses and draws against lower-ranked teams.

Afterwards we waited around outside with about a hundred-or-so other fans for the Turkish team to head to the bus as my friends wanted pictures, especially of the Captain, Arda Turan, who is a superstar in Turkey. They got pictures of one of the players (I'm not sure who but it wasn't Arda) and they were also thrilled to meet the coach, who shook my friend's hand before boarding the bus. So all-in-all my friends were thrilled to have come out for the match.

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