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Euro 2024: Mert Gunok compared with Gordon Banks after ‘unbelievable’ save sends Turkey into quarter-finals

Gunok saves from Baumgartner

Turkey defender Merih Demiral, who scored twice – including the quickest knockout-stage goal in European Championship history – was named man of the match but paid tribute to Gunok afterwards.

“Mert did a great job, we had a big discussion after the final whistle and I couldn’t believe my eyes – maybe one of the best saves I saw with my own eyes,” Demiral said.

“He deserves it, Mert is the oldest player on the team and has always guided us and shown us the path forward, so I am very happy he made that save.”

Turkey boss Vincenzo Montella was one of the few people not to use superlatives when talking about Gunok’s stop, but he did not downplay its importance for his country’s cause.

“I don’t know, because there have been so many spectacular saves,” Montella said when asked his thoughts on where Gunok’s save ranked in the all-time list.

“I am happy for him, happy for the team, happy for the country and happy for the group we have created here and what we produced out there today.

“Well done to Mert, that is his job, to make saves and we are very happy he made a match-winning save in the last minute.”

The reward for Turkey and their army of devoted fans is a quarter-final against the Netherlands in Berlin on Saturday, and Montella feels anything is possible with their support.

“We have a huge following, there is passion and love,” he explained.

“It is very visceral back home in Turkey so I am very happy to have handed our Turks here in Germany a bit of pride, and across the world.

“This responsibility, love and support we constantly feel it, but you can only embrace these dreams if you work hard from day one – we will celebrate tonight but then we get down to work.”

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