Turkey edge thriller against Georgia

Turkiye…………..2

Georgia………….1

A stunning second-half strike from Real Madrid youngster Arda Güler helped Türkiye earn a 3-1 victory in a UEFA EURO 2024 Group F thriller against debutants Georgia in Dortmund.

For much of the opening half-hour, the question was less who would win than how much Türkiye would win by – with Hakan Çalhanoğlu setting the tempo, the Crescent-Stars sparkled. The goal frame had scarcely stopped vibrating from Kaan Ayhan’s fierce drive against the post when Mert Müldür met a headed clearance with the sweetest of volleys.

Kenan Yıldız found the net again moments later, with an effort disallowed for offside after consulting VAR. Georgia were rocking; no matter, Georges Mikautadze soon got them rolling. Just past the half-hour, the Metz forward diverted Giorgi Kochorashvili’s low cross in at the near post, and he was a whisker away from another moments later.

Amid driving rain, Türkiye steadied the ship, re-establishing their dominance after the break, and Arda Güler drove home the advantage in emphatic fashion with a wonderful strike from distance. Georgia never knew they were beaten, though. Kochorashvili rattled the bar and, deep into added time, Khvicha Kvaratskhelia’s free-kick came back off the upright.

The debutants threw everything – including goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili – forward. With 97 minutes on the clock, however, Türkiye settled it following a corner, substitute Kerem Aktürkoğlu side-footing into the empty net.

Türkiye: Mert Günok; Mert Müldür (Zeki Çelik 85), Samet Akaydin, Abdülkerim Bardakcı, Ferdi Kadıoğlu; Kaan Ayhan (Demiral 79), Hakan Çalhanoğlu (Salih Özcan 90+2); Arda Güler (Yusuf Yazıcı 79), Orkun Kökçü, Kenan Yıldız (Kerem Aktürkoğlu 85); Barış Alper Yılmaz

Georgia: Mamardashvili; Kakabadze, Kverkvelia (Zivzivadze 85), Kashia, Dvali, Tsitaishvili (Lochoshvili 74); Kochorashvili, Mekvabishvili (Altunashvili 89), Chakvetadze (Davitashvili 74); Mikautadze, Kvaratskhelia

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