Turkey’s match hero investigated over goal celebration

World

UEFA has launched an investigation into Turkey’s Merih Demiral for allegedly making a political gesture as he celebrated his country’s Euro 2024 victory over Austria.

The 26-year-old defender was the match-winner as he scored both of his side’s goals in a 2-1 win to secure his nation a place in the quarter-finals of the tournament in Germany.

But officials at European football’s governing body are understood to be investigating whether Demiral gave a so-called ‘wolf’s salute’ with each hand in a gesture linked to the Turkish nationalist movement.

After scoring the second goal, he appeared to make a sign associated with the organisation Ulku Ocaklari, which is more widely known as the Grey Wolves.

UEFA issued a statement on Wednesday confirming an ethics and disciplinary investigator had been appointed in accordance with Article 31 (4) of its disciplinary regulations to look into “alleged inappropriate behaviour”.

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Turkey’s victory means they will face the Netherlands in the last eight in Berlin on Saturday – but the UEFA probe means Demiral could face a ban.

He opened the scoring in last night’s match in Leipzig after just 57 seconds, making it the second-fastest goal in the history of the championships.

Demiral then added a second just before the hour mark with both of his efforts following corners from teenage star Arda Guler.

Michael Gregoritsch pulled one back for Austria and they almost forced extra time but for a wonderful save from Turkey goalkeeper Mert Gunok.

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Image:
Demiral scores his second goal in Leipzig. Pic: Reuters

There was some controversy during the match when a shower of plastic beer cups rained down on Guler as he prepared to take the corner which led to Demiral’s second goal in the 59th minute.

Austria’s Marcel Sabitzer was also pelted with cups at the other end and at one point went down on the ground clutching his head to indicate he had been hit by an object.

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