Mikautadze and Georgia denied historic victory as Schick saves Czech Republic

If Georgia’s stay in Germany does end against Portugal in Gelsenkirchen on Wednesday, oh what fun they have had. Episode two of Georgia’s first European Championship was much like their first, an almighty ball: loud, fraught, dogged and occasionally ridiculous, a Royal Rumble of sorts as they and the Czech Republic tried to earn a priceless win in pursuit of the last 16. Georges Mikautadze scored from the penalty spot to register his second goal of the tournament but Patrik Schick, who was forced off with a calf problem, cancelled out his opener. This was a glorious reminder of how we will miss these days of wall-to-wall action, this the final day of three back-to-back matches at this competition. The Czech Republic’s head coach, Ivan Hasek, predicted this would be anything but a wild game. How wrong he was.

The moment of the match in a game of plenty came with 94 minutes and 45 seconds on the clock, 15 seconds of allocated added time to run. The Czechs got carried away and Georgia poured forward on the counter. Suddenly – unbelievably – they were 3 v 1 against the defender Robin Hranac. But the substitute Saba Lobjanidze, with only the goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek to beat, spooned his shot over. The substitutes praying for ecstasy on the touchline collapsed to the floor in disbelief. Six players crashed to the turf at the final whistle seconds later.

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