Euro 2024, Football

Euro 2024 – Turkey vs Georgia: Two wondergoals help Turkey get off to winning start

Turkey defeated courageous newcomers Georgia 3-1 to kick off their Euro 2024 campaign with two goals of the tournament contenders.

In Dortmund, Vincenzo Montella’s team got off to a fast start. After Kaan Ayhan’s goal went wide, they took a well-earned lead with one of the most skillful goals of the competition thus far.

Mert Muldur struck from a cross from Ferdi Kadioglu and reached the upper right corner with an incredible first-time volley.

Kenan Yildiz was denied a second inside two minutes while the Georgia defenders was still reeling from the first goal. A VAR review revealed that he had drifted offside before to a close-range finish.

Georges Mikautadze scored the first goal for the country at a significant international competition, beating Mert Gunok at his near post. Willy Sagnol’s team then capitalised on the break.

Following the interval, Georgia managed to hold off Turkey’s increasing impetus. However, Guler found a gap on the right, drove to the edge of the box, and curled a beauty into the top corner.

After Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal against Greece in 2004 and Ferenc Bene of Hungary against Spain in 1964, the 19-year-old became just the third adolescent to score in their debut Euro appearance.

Georgia persisted in pushing. Before a mix-up with Mikautadze saw a late chance go awry and a free-kick bounce onto the right-hand post and away, Giorgi Kochorashvili struck the crossbar.

However, Gunok won a corner in the closing moments, and although his opponent Giorgi Mamardashvili advanced for the set piece, Kerem Akturkoglu raced free towards an open goal and finished to secure the victory.

Turkey manager Vincenzo Montella:

“It was a match worthy of the finals. I’m turning 50 today so this was the best present I could have received.

“We’ve never got beyond the group stage in the last three Euros; we didn’t even pick up a point last time.

“Our first target was to win this match. Now we’ve won it, the dream is to win the next one and reach the knockout stage.”

Georgia head coach Willy Sagnol:

On whether he is happy after a 3-1 defeat to Turkey: “Yes and no. I think when you lose it’s never nice, obviously. But I think for me and my team, the most important things are something else. And I think we have given such a nice, nice image of Georgian football. We can be proud of that.

“Of course we had a lot of opportunities to score, probably as much as Turkey did. But that’s football, you know, one wins and another one loses. I don’t want to say we are happy losers today but we can be proud of our performance.”

On chances of getting out of the group: “To get out of the group of course when you start Euro you can have this goal. But for us, as I said, the most important thing is to provide good performances because this is how we are going to get better also in the future.

“Georgia is still in a very important phase of development and competitions like that should help all the players and staff to be even stronger in the future. But for sure, I can tell you already on Saturday I am convinced that we are going to provide the same kind of performance. And I am very excited already thinking about Saturday.”

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