• Wednesday, July 24, 2024

FOOTBALL

Euro 2024: Portugal win with a late goal, Turkey Beat Georgia

Ronaldo set a record by playing in his sixth European Championship, and 41-year-old Pepe became the oldest player in the tournament’s history for Portugal.

Portugal’s forward Francisco Conceicao (L) celebrates scoring his team’s second goal during the game against Czech Republic. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal secured a 2-1 victory against the Czech Republic in their Euro 2024 debut on Tuesday, with a 92nd-minute winner from Francisco Conceicao. Earlier, Turkey defeated Georgia 3-1 in Dortmund.

Ronaldo set a record by playing in his sixth European Championship, and 41-year-old Pepe became the oldest player in the tournament’s history for Portugal.

The Czech Republic took the lead with a goal from Lukas Provod after the hour mark, but an own goal by Robin Hranac equalised the score before Conceicao’s decisive goal.

“We want to do more, but there was also a lot of emotion, a lot of desire and sometimes we failed to pull off the strategic plan,” said Portugal midfielder Vitinha, awarded player of the match. “We showed all our coolness and resilience.”

Fans chanted Ronaldo’s name and performed his “Suuuui” celebration as they marched to the game, despite a brief thunderstorm. Around 8,000 fans attended Portugal’s open training session on Saturday, hoping to see the 39-year-old striker.

Ronaldo was denied three times by goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek and hit the post, with a subsequent goal by Diogo Jota disallowed due to offside.

Conceicao, the 21-year-old Porto winger and son of former Portugal international Sergio Conceicao, scored the winning goal.

“Francisco is the ultimate example of earning it, he deserves to be here and showed he is ready to help the group,” Martinez said. “Today we won, because the group is united, it’s a very resilient group.”

Czech goalscorer Provod expressed his disappointment, saying, “It hurts terribly when you work like this for 90 minutes, you give everything and you lose in the end.”

Turkey turn out

Turkey started the Euros with an entertaining 3-1 win over debutants Georgia.

Real Madrid’s Arda Guler, Mert Muldur, and Kerem Akturkoglu scored for Turkey, while Georges Mikautadze equalised for Georgia, who also hit the woodwork.

Turkey coach Vincenzo Montella praised his team’s performance, especially on his 50th birthday, calling the win “the best present.”

Germany will face Hungary in Stuttgart on Wednesday as the second round of group matches begins. Scotland will play Switzerland, seeking their first major tournament victory since 1996, while Croatia faces Albania in Group B.

(AFP)

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