Georgia one step closer to Euro 2024 after a win over 10-man Luxembourg

football21 March 2024 20:16| © Reuters
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Budu Zivzivadze © Gallo Images

Two goals from Budu Zivzivadze gave Georgia a 2-0 home win over Luxembourg in their Euro 2024 playoff semifinal on Thursday, when the visitors had a player sent off and a goal disallowed in controversial circumstances.

Neither side has ever reached the finals of a major tournament and on a rainy night in Tbilisi it was Georgia who took a step closer.

They will host one of Tuesday's three playoff finals against either Greece or Kazakhstan, who play later on Thursday.

Luxembourg were unable to get a foothold in the game early on as Georgia, backed by a noisy home crowd, kept possession and probed for a breakthrough, while the visitors failed to register a single shot on goal in the opening half.

The first goal came five minutes before the break when a poor attempt at a headed clearance by Mathias Olesen from a corner fell to Zivzivadze who rifled his first-time shot from close range into the roof of the net.

Luxembourg thought they had equalised in the 53rd minute through Gerson Rodrigues but, after a VAR check for a penalty at the other end, the referee sent off Maxime Chanot for the foul which was outside the area, and disallowed the goal.

Ten minutes later Georgia secured the win when Levan Shengelia's cross from the left was met by Zivzivadze inside the six-yard box and the forward again found the net to end Luxembourg's qualifying dream.