Guler enhances burgeoning reputation with goal for Turkey in win over debutant Georgia at Euro 2024

AP , Tuesday 18 Jun 2024

Arda Guler enhanced his reputation as one of Europe’s brightest young stars by curling home a brilliant second-half goal to help Turkey to a 3-1 win over tournament debutant Georgia at the European Championship on Tuesday.

Turkey s forward #07 Kerem Akturkoglu (L) celebrates scoring his team s third goal with Turkey s forward #08 Arda Guler during the UEFA Euro 2024 Group F football match between Turkey and Georgia at the BVB Stadion in Dortmund. AP


The 19-year-old forward brought a strong end to his first season at Real Madrid to the Euros by cutting in from the right and bending a fierce shot into the top corner in the 65th minute, regaining the lead for Turkey at 2-1 in a Group F match played in a febrile and intense atmosphere in Dortmund.

Substitute Kerem Aktürkoğlu scored a breakaway goal in the final seconds of stoppage time for Turkey's third.

This was a nation-stopping moment for Georgia, a South Caucasus country of 3.7 million people that is making its debut in an international soccer tournament since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, amid protests and political turmoil back home.

Georgia’s players dealt well with an intimidating atmosphere created by Turkey’s fans and responded to Mert Muldur’s volleyed finish for the Turks in the 25th with an equalizer by Georges Mikautadze in the 32nd.

Guler’s intervention was crucial, though, and it was the latest in a string of outside-of-the-area strikes at these Euros. It also was another demonstration of his talent that was on display when he scored five goals in five games to finish a Spanish league season that he mostly missed because of injury. He was an unused substitute in the Champions League final that Madrid won.

He’ll likely find game time even harder to come by next season following the arrival of Kylian Mbappé and Endrick, even if Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti is aware he has a gem on his hands in Guler.

Georgia, at No. 75 the lowest-ranked nation at Euro 2024, could easily have snatched a point from a game played at a frenetic pace.

In stoppage time and with its goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili upfield in search of a goal, Georgia whipped in a free kick that struck the post before a shot from the rebound was cleared off the line.

The resulting corner — sent in with Mamardashvili still up in the box — was cleared and Aktürkoğlu had the freedom of Westfalenstadion to run through unchallenged to sidefoot the ball into an empty net.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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