Georgia and Portugal served up a Rugby World Cup 2023 thriller as their Pool C match finished 18-18 at Stadium de Toulouse in Pool C on Saturday.
Two Raffaele Storti tries had looked like they would secure Portugal's first-ever Rugby World Cup win, but a try by Georgia's Tengizi Zamtaradze two minutes from full-time pulled the teams level. Luka Matkava missed the conversion and Portugal spurned a last-gasp penalty kick at goal that would have snatched the win.
The teams had exchanged first-half tries through Georgia wing Akaki Tabutsadze and his Portugal counterpart Storti who went over the line after a blistering run. Portugal prop Francisco Fernandes was shown a yellow card just before the break and Georgia held a 13-5 half-time lead.
Two penalties by Portuguese scrum-half Samuel Marques and another Storti try in the second 40 seemed to have sealed a historic victory before Zamtaradze touched down and Os Lobos full-back Nuno Sousa Guedes tugged his kick wide.
Jerónimo Portela, Portugal fly-half and Mastercard Player of the Match, reflected on that final kick of the game.
"It was very close, the last kick I really thought we could win," he said. "We made some mistakes, we will look at it and we will do better next time.
"We had a really good second half, we have made history, it is our first draw. We have worked since June to win this game, we have to keep going. We have two more matches.
"I want to thank all the Portuguese fans, all the people here today."
Rueful Georgia head coach Levan Maisashvili said of Portgual's fightback from being 13-0 down: “That’s rugby. Rugby isn’t one half. We played really hard in the first half but in the second half Portugal dominated everywhere. We lost all our opportunities in the second half."
“We know their team but we didn’t execute our opportunities when we had a chance to play. We lost a lot of balls today, lost our breakdown. Portugal played very well in the second half."
Patrice Lagisquet, Portugal head coach, said: "The first half was so poor, we were missing our kicking game, mistakes in the lineout, we were not disciplined. But we were still in the game at half time.
"I'd have liked that ball to go over [at the end] but the result is good for us."