Schick saves Czechs in Euros draw against gutsy Georgia

June 23, 2024
Czech Republic forward Patrik Schick (R) bundled home from close range to level against Georgia in Euro 2024 on June 22, 2024. — AFP

HAMBURG: Patrik Schick chested home to earn the Czech Republic a 1-1 draw against debutants Georgia on Saturday in an entertaining match, but it leaves both teams in a tricky spot in Euro 2024 Group F.


They have a point each ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo´s Portugal facing Turkey later on, as the top two clash having already beaten the Czechs and Georgia respectively.

Georgia coach Willy Sagnol said his players´ disappointment at their opening defeat showed how far his team has come, and they gave everything in Hamburg to earn their first Euros point.

Goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili made a string of superb saves to keep his team in the game and they took the lead just before the break through Georges Mikautadze´s penalty.

However Schick reprised his Euro 2020 goalscoring heroics with an improvised finish to leave honours even at the end of a pulsating clash.

Georgia´s key attacking duo Mikautadze and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia both needed medical treatment in the warm-up but were able to start the match.

They pressed with fury from the off but it was Ivan Hasek´s Czech side who carved out the first clear chances and were more dangerous throughout.

Valencia goalkeeper Mamardashvili made fine early saves to deny Adam Hlozek and then Schick on a busy afternoon.

Georgia wanted a penalty when Zuriko Davitashvili fell under pressure from Ladislav Krejci, but their appeals were waved away.

After both sides were beaten in their opening matches, they were under pressure to take three points at the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg, leading to a thoroughly entertaining end-to-end game. In their thrilling opening defeat by Turkey Georgia´s fans were outnumbered, but here they were in the majority and every time Napoli winger Kvaratskhelia got the ball in opposition territory they began to roar.

Czech right-back Vladimir Coufal was booked for clipping the Georgian as he attempted to counter.

Hlozek put the ball into the back of the Georgian net after 23 minutes but the goal was disallowed after a VAR review for handball.

The striker´s first effort was saved by Mamardashvili, with the rebound hitting Hlozek in the face and then his arm before crossing the line. Mikautadze also came in for some rough treatment, with the Czech goalscorer against Portugal, Lukas Provod, booked for clattering him.

In first half stoppage time Czech goalkeeper Jindrich Stanec saved brilliantly from Georgia captain Guram Kashia but VAR spotted a handball in the build-up by defender Robin Hranac and the referee awarded a penalty.

Mikautadze dispatched it confidently to give his side the lead at the interval, but not before Mamardashvili brilliantly saved low from Schick.

The Czechs were back level when Euro 2020 joint top scorer Schick chested home from close range after substitute Ondrej Lingr´s header from a corner bounced back off the post.

They almost took the lead in similar fashion when Krejci directed another header narrowly wide.

Schick´s strike took him ahead of Milan Baros as their top ever Euros scorer with six goals but the Bayer Leverkusen forward limped off with an apparent calf injury midway through the second half.

Georgia had a glorious chance right at the end of the match to win the game but at the end of a three-on-one break, substitute Saba Lobjanidze blazed over with just the goalkeeper to beat.