Promise Turns to Pain as Georgian Trio Crash out of Europa League

A week on from an impressive set of first leg results, all three of Georgia's clubs participating in the UEFA Europa League were knocked out on a night of second leg dismay on July 9.

Dinamo Tbilisi, leading 2-1 from the first leg, succumbed to two late goals to Gabala in Azerbaijan to lose 3-2 on aggregate.

Following Lasha Totadze's dismissal in the 70th minute, Dinamo faced an uphill battle to secure progress and Asif Mammadov's 88th minute header spelled the end for the Georgians before Olexiy Antonov added a killer second in the final minute.

Also throwing away a first leg advantage were Dinamo Batumi whose 2-0 defeat to Omonia Nicosia in Cyprus brought an end to their long-awaited European return.

Badri Tetunashvili's red card in the 54th minute was the catalyst for Batumi's downfall as Frenchman Herold Goulon scored on the rebound from the resulting penalty.

In the 62nd minute, Maltese forward Andre Schembri notched the winner for the Cypriots.

Meanwhile, in Tbilisi, there was similar heartache for Tskhinvali who, making their European debut, slipped to a 3-1 loss against Romania's Botosani.

Dan Roman's 6th minute opener handed the Romanians the early initiative and Tskhinvali's plight deepened when striker Nika Kacharava was dismissed before half-time.

Roman added a second after the break and, although Vadram Kilasonia's 65th minute penalty gave the Georgians a momentary glimmer of hope, Paul Batin soon netted a third for Botosani to finish the tie and book a second qualifying round date with Polish giants Legia Warsaw.

Georgia's solitary remaining European hope is now Dila Gori who enter Champions League qualifying next week with a daunting trip to play Partizan Belgrade in Serbia.

Alastair Watt

10 July 2015 14:31