Ronaldo's drought continues as Georgia shocks Portugal

Georgia shock Ronaldo's Portugal || Image credit: Imago

Ronaldo's drought continues as Georgia shocks Portugal

Faruq Ibrahim 22:21 - 26.06.2024

Portugal finished at the top of Group F, despite suffering a shock defeat to Georgia.

Georgia kept their EURO 2024 dreams alive by grabbing a shocking 2-0 victory against title contenders Portugal.

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With two wins in as many games, Portugal had already booked their ticket for the next round. With the final group game a mere formality for the Selecao, Roberto Martinez named a changed team.

Georgia, on the other hand, were playing for their future in the competitions and the disparity in ambition was enough to fuel the dreams of the Crusaders as they rode to the round of 16 off the back of a famous victory against the Portuguese thanks to goals from Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Georges Mikautadze.

How it happened

Georgia started with intent, given their incredible ambition and what was needed to achieve it. They were rewarded for their early agency when Mikautadze seized upon Antonio Silva's misplaced pass, threading a perfect ball to Kvaratskhelia, who slotted superbly into the far corner. 

Willy Sagnol’s men aimed to build on their early lead. Portugal, however, gradually found their rhythm, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Palhinha both testing Giorgi Mamardashvili, but the Valencia man was up to the task.

Martínez’s ‘second string’ side pushed for an equaliser as the first half wore on, but clear chances were hard to come by. Barcelona’s Joao Felix came closest with a long-range strike that went narrowly wide. 

The second half mirrored the first, with Georgia pressing forward and threatening in attack, while Portugal managed to create goalscoring opportunities of their own. 

Georgia pressure bore fruit when VAR awarded a penalty for Silva's trip on Luka Lochoshvili. Mikautadze converted calmly, netting his third goal of the tournament and giving Georgia a crucial two-goal cushion.

Portugal pushed for a comeback, but Mamardashvili denied Nelson Semedo, and Georgia saw out the final minutes comfortably. They now face a thrilling last-16 clash against Spain. Meanwhile, Portugal will take on Slovenia in the knockout stages on Monday.

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