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Türkiye sees off Georgia, Portugal secures last gasp win over Czech Republic in Euro 2024

Xinhua | Updated: 2024-06-19 09:29
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Türkiye's Arda Guler scores their second goal during Euro 2024's Group F match between Türkiye and Georgia at Dortmund BVB Stadion in Dortmund, Germany, June 18, 2024. [Photo/Agencies]

BERLIN -- Arda Guler's long-range hammer paved the way for Türkiye's hard-earned 3-1 opening game victory over resilient Georgia while Portugal had to wait for substitute Fransico Conceicao's late winner to edge Czech Republic 2-1 as the first round of the Euro 2024 group stage concluded on Tuesday.

The Turks assumed control from the kick-off and created momentum through promising chances from Kaan Ayhaan and Abdulkerim Bardakci in the opening stages.

With 11 minutes into the game Georgia showed signs of life when Anzor Mekavabishvili's deflected effort on target forced Turkish goalkeeper Mert Gunok into action.

It was Vincenzo Montella's men who eventually broke the deadlock with 25 minutes gone as Mert Muldur volleyed home a loose ball at the edge of the box.

Georgia remained unimpressed and responded with their first-ever goal in a major tournament after Georges Mikautadze latched onto Giorgi Kochorashvili's cutback pass to restore parity.

Türkiye was stunned and Georgia could have turned things around in the 51st minute but for all that Mikautadze failed to finish the job after a counterattack.

Montella's side increased the pressure as Hakan Calhanoglu's dangerous free kick tested Giorgi Mamardashvili before Arda Guler curled the ball from 20 meters into the top left corner to make it 2-1 on the scoreboards at the hour mark.

Georgia's resistance was broken while Türkiye wasn't done with the scoring as Kerem Akturkoglu completed a fast break into the empty net to ensure a 3-1 victory.

"It was a game worthy of a final. Our supporters were great even though it was tough encounter, and this win is for them too. I turn 52 today so this was the best gift I could have received," said Turkish coach Montella.

Czech Republic's Lukas Provod scores their first goal past Portugal's Diogo Costa during Euro 2024's Group F match between Portugal and Czech Republic at Leipzig Stadium in Leipzig, Germany, June 18, 2024. [Photo/Agencies]

At the other match in Group F, Portugal clinched a dramatic 2-1 win over stubborn Czech Republic, who took the lead against the run of the play through Lukas Provod on the hour mark.

Portugal pressed for the equalizer and got rewarded in the 70th minute when defender Robin Hranac cleared Nuno Mendes header into the wrong goal.

Roberto Martinez's men continued on the front foot and snatched all three points in the dying seconds of the match when Conceicao tapped home the winner from very close range.

With the results in Group F, Türkiye captured the top spot followed by Portugal, Czech Republic and Georgia.

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