12 November, 2016 – The Kosovo’s National Team was defeated today in Antalya by Turkey with 2:0, in the fourth match within Group I for the World Cup qualifiers “Russia 2018”. Kosovo in this match had a very good appearance whereas in an exceptional form was also the goalkeeper Samir Ujkani who managed to keep his goal intact for the first 45 minutes with some excellent defense. However, in the end of the first match, only the fate denied to score when Valon Berisha hit the post after a fantastic action. Moreover, the Turks began frantic the second half and within the first four minutes they scored twice using the distraction of our players through Burak Yilmaz (51’) and Volkan Sen (55’). After these two goals, Kosovo made efforts to return to the result but had not the freshness to do it, although they had some chances. Meanwhile, the atmosphere in the standings was great, from both Turkish fans and Kosovo Dardans fans, where they both sometimes were yelling together “Turkiye, Kosova”.
Turkey: Volkan Babaacan; Gokhan Gonul, Mehmet Topal, Ahmet Calik, Hasan Alikaldirim, Selcuk Inan, Oguzhan Ozyakup, Calhanoglu, Arda Turan, Volkan Sen, Burak Yilmaz.
Kosovo: Ujkani, Përdedaj, Pnishi, Alushi, Rashica, Shala, Rrahmani, V. Berisha, Zeneli, Muriqi, Kololli.
It was a tough match played by both teams. It is not easy to play before 32 thousand Turkish fans who supported their team in maximum. When you play with big teams it is like this. One second is sufficient and you face goal. However, I think we are in good road. We are a young national team where the average age is between 22 and 23 years. We must be patient and within three or four years we will have a much stronger team.
I think we played a very good defensive game. We suffered two goals very fast but still we got ourselves and created several chances. If we scored from the post, for sure the match would have been different. The last pass was not good but in general, it was a very good game from our side. I am convinced that neither Turks expected us to play so well. In the end, they told us that we have a team with great potential. Perhaps the fate is not in our side, however, I think that with a game like this we played today, we have the support from the state and our fans as well. Even Turkish fans applauded us in the end.
Turkey has super talents and very good standard stroke. The match was very good for fans as both teams played well. We need more experience. We are a young group but were more compact than in previous matches. Today we were more organized and fought for each other and believe that we are in right way. We are not happy we lost because this is not part of our mentality. We are creating chances and are playing better from match to match and slowly it is going to be better.