Arda Guler Stunner Powers Turkey Past Georgia in EURO 2024 Opener

Arda Güler announced himself on the EURO stage with a wonder goal, propelling Turkey to a thrilling 3-1 victory over tournament debutants Georgia in Dortmund.

Early Turkish Dominance Fizzles

The opening half-hour was a masterclass in attacking football from Turkey. Hakan Çalhanoğlu orchestrated the play, leading to a flurry of chances. Mert Müldür’s spectacular volley put Turkey ahead, and Kenan Yıldız nearly doubled their lead, only to be denied by a close offside call.

READ: Who is Arda Guler? The 18-year-old ‘Turkish Messi’ Wanted by Europe’s Biggest Clubs

Georgia Responds with Mikautadze Goal

Just as Turkish dominance seemed absolute, Georgia pulled one back through Georges Mikautadze, who converted Giorgi Kochorashvili’s cross from close range. The goal revitalized Georgia, with Khvicha Kvaratskhelia nearly adding another before halftime.

Güler Steals the Show with Stunning Goal

Despite the rain, Turkey regained control after the break. The momentum shifted decisively when the 19-year-old Güler unleashed a breathtaking strike from distance, leaving the Georgian goalkeeper with no chance.

Georgia Pushes But Falls Short

Georgia refused to surrender. Kochorashvili rattled the bar, and Kvaratskhelia nearly equalized with a late free-kick. They even threw their goalkeeper, Giorgi Mamardashvili, forward in a desperate attempt to snatch a point.

And it almost worked as they hit the post and then Samet Akaydin saved the ball off the line.

Aktürkoğlu Seals the Win

However, Turkey had the final say. Substitute Kerem Aktürkoğlu capitalized on the chaos in the dying moments, tapping home from close range to secure a dramatic victory.

Historic Night for Turkey

This win marks a significant milestone for Turkey. It’s their first EURO victory in eight years, and it ends a streak of opening game losses in their previous five appearances. Additionally, Güler becomes the first teenager to score on his EURO debut since Cristiano Ronaldo in 2004.

Looking Ahead

Turkey will be buoyed by this victory as they look to build momentum in Group F. Georgia, despite the defeat, can take heart from their spirited performance and will aim to bounce back in their next match.