Guler stunner helps Turkey beat Georgia in thriller

Arda Guler

Teenager Arda Guler scored on his European Championship debut as Turkey broke Georgia’s hearts with a thrilling Group F victory in Dortmund.

Right-back Mert Muldur gave Turkey the lead in the 25th minute with an outrageous volley into the top corner, leaving Georgia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili no chance.

But seven minutes later, Georges Mikautadze scored Georgia’s first goal in a major tournament after expertly guiding Giorgi Kochorashvili’s cross into the near corner.

In the 65th minute, Real Madrid forward Guler became the third teenager to score on his Euros debut with a sublime, curling strike into the top corner from 25 yards.

Georgia, also playing in a Euros for the first time, fought valiantly and almost snatched a leveller.

Having shown plenty of heart and skill, Willy Sagnol’s side came close when Kochorashvili missed a late opportunity, having earlier hit the bar.

And in a frantic finale, they struck the post and had a goalbound effort from Budu Zivzivadze blocked by the head of Samet Akaydin in the fifth minute of added time.

But Turkey sealed the success with the last kick of the game as substitute Kerem Akturkoglu broke clear and, with keeper Mamardashvili having come up for a corner, rolled a finish into an empty net.

Dortmund’s famous yellow wall became the red wall as Turkish fans celebrated wildly after their side – on manager Vincenzo Montella’s 50th birthday – picked up a valuable three points.

Turkey will look to make it two wins on the bounce on Saturday when they face Portugal, while Georgia play the Czech Republic.

After becoming the first Turkish player to win the Champions League in June when Real Madrid beat Borussia Dortmund, Guler certainly lived up to the hype that followed him into Euro 2024.

He showed glimpses in the first half of the talent that labelled him the “Turkish Messi”, but it was in the second period when he stole the spotlight.

In true Messi-style, Guler picked up the ball on the right side of the pitch and cut in on his left foot before unleashing an unstoppable strike into the top corner – leaving spectators in awe in the pouring Dortmund rain.

At 19 years and 114 days, he became the youngest player to score on his debut in the competition, surpassing Cristiano Ronaldo’s previous record of 19 years and 128 days set against Greece in 2004.

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His dazzling display showed why Real handed Guler a six-year contract and turned down loan offers last summer when they signed the youngster from Fenerbahce.

The goal also gave Turkey the edge in a close contest and he will now look to remain a driving force for a side that reached the Euro 2008 semi-finals.

Defeat was harsh on Georgia, who created history was created after Sagnol’s men beat Greece in a penalty shootout in the play-off final back in March.

The French boss insisted his side would “give it everything” in their first major tournament – and that was exactly what they did from the first minute.

They will take plenty of positives into their next game, despite leaving Dortmund with no points.

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