Soccer-Croatia beat Turkey thanks to Kovacic double in Euro qualifier

Soccer Football - UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifiers - Group D - Turkey v Croatia - Bursa Timsah Arena, Bursa, Turkey - March 28, 2023 Croatia's Mateo Kovacic celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Murad Sezer

ANKARA (Reuters) - Croatia midfielder Mateo Kovacic's double secured a 2-0 win away to Turkey in their Euro 2024 qualifier on Tuesday as they leapfrogged the hosts and moved up to second spot in Group D.

Wales, who beat Latvia 1-0, lead the group on four points on goal difference from Croatia with Turkey third with three.

Kovacic left Turkey goalkeeper Mert Gunok motionless when he scored from close range in the 20th minute following a failed attempt by the defence to clear the ball.

Kovacic scored again just before halftime as he tapped home a rebound after Gunok saved Mario Pasalic's effort.

Despite creating better chances early on, Turkey were kept out by Dominik Livakovic who made some exceptional saves.

In another blow for the hosts, Turkey captain Hakan Calhanoglu had to come off in the 36th minute due to an injury.

Turkey, who reached the Euro 2008 semi-finals, are looking to qualify again after a disappointing performance at Euro 2020 when they lost all three games and scored one goal.

(Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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