The Malta Independent 18 July 2024, Thursday
View E-Paper

Georgia get 1st point but miss a win in 1-1 draw with Czech Republic at Euro 2024

Associated Press Saturday, 22 June 2024, 17:43 Last update: about 25 days ago

Georgia earned its first-ever point at a major tournament in a 1-1 draw with the Czech Republic at Euro 2024 on Saturday. It was nearly a win.

Midfielder Saba Lobjanidze fired his shot narrowly over the bar with the last kick of the game as Georgia's promising three-on-one counterattack came to nothing.

Lobjanidze — who plays for Atlanta United in the U.S. state of Georgia — seemed to be in tears after the final whistle and was comforted by coach Willy Sagnol.

Earlier, video reviews were in the spotlight.

The Czech team dominated the opening stages and celebrated the opening goal in the 23rd minute when Adam Hlozek bundled the ball into the net at the far post off a long throw.

Replays, however, showed Hlozek’s shot had bounced back off goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili and in off the Czech forward’s face and arm.

The situation was reversed when Georgia defender Guram Kashia shot straight at the goalkeeper just before halftime. Georgia’s fans rued the missed chance but celebrated when a video review found the ball had come off Czech defender Robin Hranac’s arm a couple of seconds earlier.

Georgia, the only team making its debut at Euro 2024, then took the lead with a Georges Mikautadze penalty given for handball by Czech defender Robin Hranec.

The Czech team got back into the game when a header rebounded off the post and Patrik Schick scored with his chest for his sixth career goal at the European Championships, ranking him joint-sixth on the all-time list.

Schick limped off soon after and applied ice to his calf, potentially a major concern for the Czech Republic given the Bayer Leverkusen striker’s importance to the team and his long record of previous injuries.

VAR didn’t intervene later in the game when the Czech team appealed for players being pushed by Georgian defenders in the penalty area, perhaps because the contact on both occasions was relatively slight.

The draw means that both teams almost certainly require a win in their last group games to qualify for the knockout stages.

Turkey and Portugal are the other two teams in Group F. They play later Saturday.

  • don't miss