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Guler golazo gives Turkiye thrilling win over Georgia

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Two sensational goals gave Turkiye a thrilling 2-1 win over Georgia from Dortmund as Group F opened play at UEFA Euro 2024.

Mert Muldur and Arda Guler scored for Turkiye, while Georges Mikautadze answered back for Georgia with his nation's first ever goal at a major tournament.

Kerem Akturkoglu scored on a empty net with the final kick of the match.

In taking the pitch, Georgia became the 36th different nation to feature at a Euro and they were forced to weather an early storm. Turkiye dictated play early, but were too reliant on deep balls to B.A. Yilmaz that the Georgia backline was able to handle.

But Turkiye kept knocking on the door and got their goal in outrageous fashion in the 25th. Ferdi Kadioglu sent in a cross from the left that was partially cleared, but it fell to Muldur who unleashed a one-timed volley to rocket a shot past Giorgi Mamardashvili for what was, perhaps, the goal of the tournament, thus far.

Turkiye continued to turn the screws and thought they might have given their opponents too deep a hole to climb out of only two minutes later. Kenan Yildiz darted through the backline to poke home past Mamardashvili, but his joy was short-lived after a VAR check found the 19-year-old Juventus forward to be just offside.

The let-up breathed new life into Georgia who had been penned back ahead of the goal. In the 32nd, Giorgi Kochorashvili moved into the box with some fancy footwork before dishing off to Mikautadze to squeeze through an effort between Mert Gunok and the near post. While there was some heft to the shot, Gunok should have done better.

The game stayed 1-1 until halftime.

The second half opened much the same way the first 45 did with end-to-end action. In the 50th, Giorgi Tsitaishvili made his way into the area, but his effort was tame and directly at Gunok. Minutes later, a finely timed block from Abdulkerim Bardakci ensured that Mikautadze didn't bag a second.

It was then Turkiye's chance to come close in the 58th when Milan midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu blasted a free kick just over the wall with menace. Mamardashvili seemed to be late in locating the ball, but managed to punch it away unconvincingly with one hand.

The Turks' effort would be rewarded again in the 65th with an outrageous piece of skill from Real Madrid teenager Guler. From 25 yards out, Guler took advantage from a retreating defender to unleash a gorgeous curling strike inside the top corner for a goal maybe even more impressive than Muldur's.

Guler became the first teenager to score on their Euro debut since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2004 and the youngest ever to do so. He would exit the match in the 81st to a standing ovation.

Georgia wouldn't go away just yet, though. In the 72nd, Kochorashvili hammered a shot from just inside the area that ricocheted off of the crossbar.

Turkiye had the opportunity to put the tie to bed in the 87th, but Mamardashvili made an outstanding save to deny a Yusuf Yazici header from close range.

That save handed Georgia an opportunity to equalize in stoppage. Khvicha Kvaratskhelia's inviting ball to the front of the net was met by Kochorashvili, but he scuffed his effort and it went harmlessly wide.

With Mamardashvili up for an equalizer, Turkiye broke forward after defending a corner with Akturkoglu allowed to score on an open goal.

The victory was a satisfying one for Turkiye, who had lost all three of their group-stage games at Euro 2020.

Group F continues play later on Tuesday as Portugal meets Czechia.

Turkiye and Georgia return to action on Saturday as the former takes on Portugal while the latter faces off with Czechia.