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Schick saves Czechs in European Championship draw against brave Georgia

Tschechische Republik Stürmer <a class="Verknüpfung " href="https://sports.yahoo.com/soccer/players/443315/" Daten-i13n="Sek.:Inhalts-Leinwand;Untersek.:Ankertext;Ulme:Kontext-Link" Daten-ylk="slk:Patrik Schick;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Patrick Schick</a> (R) scored from close range to equalize against Georgia (Ronny HARTMANN)” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/CPs3oJlfmBhiZ5CMl1c3Dg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTYzOQ–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/afp.co.uk/a46316d83fb4513d92ea995915c5574f” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/CPs3oJlfmBhiZ5CMl1c3Dg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTYzOQ–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/afp.co.uk/a46316d83fb4513d92ea995915c5574f”/><button class=
Czech striker Patrik Schick (r.) equalized from close range against Georgia (Ronny HARTMANN)

Patrik Schick scored with a chest-topping goal to earn the Czech Republic a 1-1 draw with debutants Georgia in an entertaining game on Saturday, but it leaves both teams in a difficult position in Group F of Euro 2024.

They are each one point ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal, who face Turkey later as the two leaders already face the Czechs and Georgia respectively.

Georgia coach Willy Sagnol said his players' disappointment over their opening defeat showed how far his team had come and that they had given everything in Hamburg to earn their first point at the European Championships.

Goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili made a series of great saves to keep his team in the game. Shortly before half-time, the visitors took the lead through a penalty from Georges Mikautadze.

However, Schick repeated his heroic feat as a goalscorer at the 2020 European Championship with an improvised finish, securing the honour at the end of an exciting encounter.

“One-on-one is of course not enough for us. We were better throughout the game and had more chances. Unfortunately, the goalkeeper prevented everything in the first half and then came the unfortunate penalty,” Schick said on Czech television.

“It didn't go in our favor. We were able to equalize, we put pressure on, but we couldn't score a second goal. We have one point and will play for everything in the last game.”

Georgia's main attacking duo Mikautadze and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia had to undergo medical treatment during warm-up but were still able to take part in the game.

They applied heavy pressure from the start, but it was Ivan Hasek's Czech team that created the first clear chances and bombarded the Georgian goal.

On a busy afternoon, Valencia goalkeeper Mamardashvili made strong saves to deny shots from Adam Hlozek and then Schick.

Georgia sought a penalty when Zuriko Davitashvili collapsed under pressure from Ladislav Krejci, but her appeal was dismissed.

After both teams suffered opening defeats, they were under pressure to score three points in Hamburg's Volksparkstadion, and so it was a very entertaining game on equal terms.

In the thrilling opening loss to Turkey, Georgian fans were outnumbered, but here they were in the majority and every time Napoli winger Kvaratskhelia touched the ball in opposition territory, they began to cheer.

– End to end –

Hlozek fired the ball into the Georgian net after 23 minutes, but the goal was disallowed for handball following a VAR review.

However, Mamardashvili was able to parry the striker's first attempt; the rebound hit Hlozek in the face and then in the arm before crossing the goal line.

In injury time of the first half, Czech goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek made a brilliant save from a shot by Georgian captain Guram Kashia, but the video referee spotted a handball by defender Robin Hranac in the build-up and the referee awarded a penalty.

Mikautadze confidently converted the shot to give his team the lead at half-time, but Mamardashvili had earlier parried a brilliant low shot from Schick.

The Czechs equalised when Schick, one of the top scorers at Euro 2020, chested home from close range after substitute Ondrej Lingr's header rebounded off the post following a corner.

With his goal, Schick overtook Milan Baros as the most successful European Championship goalscorer of all time with six goals, but the Bayer Leverkusen striker had to leave the field limping in the middle of the second half, apparently with a calf injury.

Georgia had a great chance to win the game right towards the end of the match, but at the end of a three-on-one counterattack, substitute Saba Lobjanidze shot over the goal and only had to beat the goalkeeper.

It may have been a historic moment for the Atlanta United striker, but he sat back and watched as the ball sailed into the arms of the desperate Georgia fans behind the goal.

After the final whistle, Georgia's players collapsed on the pitch, devastated that their chance to win the game had slipped through their fingers.

“Our first point is a historic moment. Of course, we could have won right at the end. I'm disappointed about that, but that's football and anything can happen,” said Mamardashvili.

“Of course this is an important moment, but he has to keep going like this. He can be proud, we deserve our first point.”

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Anna Harden

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