HAMBURG: Saba Lobjanidze could have secured Georgia’s first win in a major tournament in the very last minute of their Group F tie at the UEFA Euro finals. The substitute was clear on goal after a high-speed counterattack against the Czech Republic but shot wastefully over the bar in what thus ended as a 1-1 draw in Hamburg.

Georgia, the lowest-ranked side in the tournament, had taken the lead in first-half stoppage time when striker Georges Mikautadze converted a penalty awarded by referee Daniel Siebert for handball against Robin Hranac

but the Czechs, quarter-finalists in Euro 2020, responded with urgency and deserved a close-range equaliser chested in by Patrik Schick after a shot from substitute Ondrej Lingr hit a post. The Bayer Leverkusen striker thus became the Czechs’ leading scorer in the Euro finals with six goals, overtaking Milan Baros.

The Czechs drove forward in pursuit of a winner only to be foiled by some fine saves from Georgia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvili before Lobjanidze missed his chance to make history.

Manager Willy Sagnol said: “The players were disappointed after this massive opportunity but they got their first ever point at a major tournament. The whole team had words with Saba to try to make him feel better. The player is feeling very down at the moment but we will do everything to cheer him up.

“When you are Georgia, you can’t pretend you can win the European Championship but if, before the competition you would have told me we might play for qualification in the last match, I would have signed immediately. We will play with ambition.”

Both sides head into Wednesday’s final Group F games with a chance of progress. The Czechs face Turkey while Georgia can go through to the last 16 if they beat Portugal.