FC Guria Lanchkhuti

FC Guria is a Georgian association football club from Lanchkhuti, which competes in Liga 3, the third tier of the national league.

Guria Lanchkhuti
FC Guria Lanchkhuti logo.jpg
Founded1924
GroundEvgrapi Shevardnadze Stadium, Lanchkhuti, Georgia
Capacity4,500 (3,030 seats)
PresidentSaba Japharidze
Head CoachGiorgi Oniani
LeagueLiga 3
2021Liga 3, 11th of 14

Being one of the strongest Georgian teams in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Guria have taken part in the Soviet Top league, also won the national Cup and played fifteen seasons in Umaglesi Liga, twice claiming silver medals.

HistoryEdit

Early periodEdit

Formed in 1924[1] as FC Kimi, the team ceased to exist after the start of World War 2 and resumed functioning in 1952 under the name "Kolmeurne".

In 1960 the club was renamed as Guria. The next year they gained a first title by becoming champions of the republican league. During the subsequent decade the team won the Georgian Cup three times and the domestic league two more times, in 1966 and 1971, which enabled them to advance to the Soviet Association football.[2]

1972–1979: in the Soviet second leagueEdit

Starting from 1972 Guria played in the Second League, the third tier of the Soviet football league, for seven years.

In II league after each season
YEAR MP W D L GF–GA P FP
1972 36 12 7 17 46-49 31 13th
1973 34 13 5 16 52-52 31 8th
1974 38 10 17 11 56-53 37 11th
1975 34 18 5 11 62-47 41 3rd
1976 38 21 10 7 67-34 52 1st*
1977 42 22 7 13 91-57 51 4th
1978 46 24 11 11 82-48 59 2nd
1979 46 31 4 11 110-50 66 1st

*Note: Lost promotion play-offs to Uralmash Sverdlovsk

Overall results shown by Guria in II League are the following:

MP W D L GF–GA
314 151 66 97 566:390

Guria's remarkable progress was largely attributed to Shalva Kakabadze, who worked as head coach for record twenty years continuously from 1959 until 1980, and local government chairman Evgrapi Shevardnadze, brother of the Soviet Communist Party leader in Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze.[3]

1980-1986: Road to the top flightEdit

After the winning season in 1979 Guria were promoted to the First League, where they played for another seven consecutive years. 

In I League after each season
YEAR MP W D L GF–GA P FP
1980 46 18 10 18 68-73 46 11th
1981 46 16 13 17 50-56 44 14th
1982 42 15 7 20 48-67 37 18th
1983 42 19 4 19 52-71 42 9th
1984 42 16 10 16 49-52 42 10th
1985 38 15 7 16 50-52 37 17th
1986 46 28 5 13 80-66 61 1st

Source

The very fact of promotion to the Soviet Top League for the team representing a provincial town seemed amazing. Football fervour around Guria grew so high that in most cases not a single seat was available during their matches and some youngsters would climb up trees around the stadium to watch their favourite team. The pitch invasion during the 2–1 win over fierce rivals FC Daugava Riga resulted in disqualification of the stadium for three matches. For this reason the final home game of the season against Yuri Semin's Lokomotive Moscow (1-0) was held in Batumi in front of 20,000 spectators.[4]

Under head coach Begi Sikharulidze some players especially contributed to this huge achievement:[5] Besik Pridonashvili with all 46 games played and 27 goals scored; Teimuraz Chkhaidze - 44 (8); Murman Akopian - 43 (7); Badri Danelia - 43 (1); Levan Melikia - 41; Vakhtang Kopaleishvili - 40 (16); Sergey Shvetsov - 40 (1); Enuki Tevzadze - 39 (5); Tariel Ebanoidze - 37 (1); Gigla Imnadze - 36; Alexander Kondratiev - 36; Merab Tevzadze - 30 (1); Gia Giligashvili - 26; Karlo Mchedlidze - 12; Davit Ugrelidze - 11 (5).

1987: the Top leagueEdit

Straight away after the promotion the football ground underwent a significant reconstruction and eventually the capacity of stadium in a town with 9,021 residents as of 1987 reached 22,000.[6]

Between 1983/84 and 1987/88 seasons the USSR occupied a second place after Italy in UEFA ranking,[7] therefore, the Soviet Top League was a tough challenge for Guria. Being regarded as a decent home team, Guria beat Kairat Alma-Ata 2–0, Neftchi 1–0, Dinamo Minsk 2–1, Dinamo Moscow 2-1 and Ararat Yerevan 2–0, also played goalless draws against Dinamo Kiev, Dinamo Tbilisi and future bronze medal holders Zalgiris, although poor results in away games doomed the club for relegation.

1988-89: Promotion battlesEdit

Guria did not succeed in a new promotion attempt, finishing in the 4th place in 1988, but the team still made headlines with a shock victory over Dinamo Kiev (2-1) in the Cup 1/16 finals.[8] The next year the Gurians once again displayed their powerful home run by winning all 21 games held in Lanchkhuti and earned a place in the Soviet Top League as runners-up of the 1989 season.[9]

However, Guria were no longer destined to play again in the Soviet championship. On 15 February 1990 Georgian Football Federation made a decision to break away from the Soviet Football Federation, withdraw all the teams from the Soviet leagues and form its own national championship with immediate effect.[10]

Since 1990: Georgian leaguesEdit

By entering Umaglesi Liga competition a new stage opened up for Guria. First several years they remained high-flying, winning the Georgian Cup title in 1990 and silver medals in 1990 and 1991. Later the decline started which saw the club moving up and down the first three divisions several times.

Their very name was subjected to changes, becoming Guria-Lokomotive-2 after the merger with Locomotive's reserve team in 2001, and Guria-2000 in 2008. In 2009 the team regained their popular name.

In the 2016 season Guria played in the top Georgian division, but within two years they slumped to Liga 3. Although the team managed to go up for 2019, their tenure there did not last longer than one season.

Throughout the shortened 2020 season Guria appeared poised for promotion. Yet, decisive last two games lost to direct rivals spelled failure for their main goal.[11] In contrast, a year later the team mostly stayed inside the drop zone, although due to the points picked up close to the end they barely escaped yet another relegation.

SeasonsEdit

Season League Pos P W D L GF GA Pts Cup
1987 Top League 16  30 5 8 17 18 38 18
1988 First League 4 42 23 7 12 71 44 53
1989 First League 2  42 27 9 6 78 39 63
1990 Umaglesi Liga 2 34 22 6 6 73 20 72 Winner
1991 Umaglesi Liga 2 19 14 4 1 38 15 46
1991/92 Umaglesi Liga 4 38 22 3 13 89 56 69 Round of 16
1992/93 Umaglesi Liga 12 32 12 2 18 37 57 38 Round of 16
1993/94 Umaglesi Liga West 2 14 9 0 5 36 22 27 Quarterfinals
Champ.Group 7 18 5 2 11 30 50 17
1994/95 Umaglesi Liga 13 30 8 6 16 36 81 30 Quarterfinals
1995/96 Umaglesi Liga 13 30 9 0 21 35 74 27 Round of 32
1996/97 Umaglesi Liga 13 30 10 3 17 33 63 33 Round of 16
1997/98 Umaglesi Liga 14 30 6 9 15 30 58 27 Round of 16
1998/99 Umaglesi Liga 16  30 3 4 23 34 87 13 Round of 32
1999/00 Pirveli Liga A 8 22 7 1 14 36 45 22 Round of 16
2000/01 Pirveli Liga 3 22 12 5 5 31 25 41 Fourth Round
Champ.Group 1 
2001/02 Umaglesi Liga 10  22 3 6 13 14 44 15 Quarterfinals
2002/03 Pirveli Liga 12 30 9 7 14 32 44 34 Second round
2003/04 Pirveli Liga 10 30 13 6 11 38 37 45 First round
2004/05 Pirveli Liga 10 30 10 8 12 30 45 38 First round
2005/06 Pirveli Liga 9 34 14 5 15 50 47 47 Round of 32
2006/07 Pirveli Liga 15  34 8 7 19 36 76 31 First round
2007/08 Meore Liga West 2  22 15 6 1 49 17 51
2008/09 Pirveli Liga 6 14 7 2 5 24 21 23 Round of 16
2009/10 Pirveli Liga 4 28 16 5 7 53 32 53 First round
2010/11 Pirveli Liga 6 32 14 4 14 50 59 46 First round
2011/12 Pirveli Liga B 2 18 12 3 3 41 15 39 Round of 32
2012/13 Pirveli Liga A 1  33 27 4 2 86 20 85 Quarterfinals
2013/14 Umaglesi Liga 6 32 12 0 20 31 53 36 Round of 16
2014/15 Umaglesi Liga 9 30 10 9 11 38 43 39 Round of 32
2015/16 Umaglesi Liga 11 30 6 9 15 28 49 27 Round of 16
2016 Umaglesi Liga White 6  12 3 2 7 8 21 11 Round of 16
2017 Erovnuli Liga 2 8  36 11 4 21 47 68 37 Round of 16
2018 Liga 3 3  38 21 10 7 59 31 73 Round of 8
2019 Erovnuli Liga 2 8  36 10 6 20 39 64 36 Round of 16
2020 Liga 3 5 18 8 2 8 26 30 26 First Round
2021 Liga 3 11 26 8 5 13 33 44 29 Third Round

Overall, seasons spent in Georgian leagues since 1990:

Umaglesi Liga (1st tier): 15

Pirveli Liga / Erovnuli Liga 2 (2nd tier): 14

Meore Liga / Liga 3 (3rd tier): 4

Correct up to 2021 season

Club honoursEdit

  • Georgian Soviet Championship:
    • Winners: 1961, 1966, 1971
    • Runners-up: 1960
  • Georgian Soviet Cup:
    • Winners: 1965, 1966, 1971

Personal honoursEdit

In early 2020, by decree of the Georgian Ministry of Sport Begi Sikharulidze, Teimuraz Chkhaidze and Gigla Imnadze were awarded the Knight of Sport title for their distinguished contribution to Guria's victorious season in 1986.[12]

A year later Begi Sikharulidze was awarded the title Honorary Citizen of Lanchkhuti.[13]

Current squadEdit

As of April 2022[14]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
3 DF   GEO Beka Beridze
4 DF   GEO Irakli Kromlidi
5 DF   GEO Dimitri Virubovi
6 MF   GEO Gigla Burkadze
7 MF   GEO Aleksandre Koshkadze
8 MF   GEO Guram Gureshidze
9 FW   GEO Nika Kobauri
10 MF   GEO Giorgi Gureshidze
11 FW   GEO Aleksandre Suladze
12 GK   GEO Irakli Khvedelidze
No. Pos. Nation Player
13 MF   GEO Sandro Bakhia
14 MF   GEO Amiko Kutubidze
15 MF   GEO Mikheil Rukhaia
20 MF   GEO Tornike Grigalashvili
21 MF   GEO Jumber Khmelidze
22 DF   GEO Giga Tsurtsumia
24 MF   GEO Amiran Aladashvili
25 MF   GEO Lasha Akhalaia
29 GK   GEO Gabriel Tebidze
33 DF   GEO Guram Adamadze (C)

Former playersEdit

Topscorers by seasonEdit

Season Name Goals
1966–67   Omar Pertenava 16
1967–68   Vakhtang Dzidziguri 23
1968–69   Vakhtang Dzidziguri 17
1969–70   Vakhtang Dzidziguri 18
1970–71   Vakhtang Dzidziguri 39
1971–72   Vakhtang Dzidziguri 13
1972–73   Joni Abaishvili 19
1973–74   Vakhtang Dzidziguri 15
1974–75   Revaz Sanaia 25
1975–76   Besik Mchedlishvili 20
1976–77   Vasil Troian 18
1977–78   Vasil Troian 15
1978–79   Merab Megreladze 26
1979–80   Merab Megreladze 20
1980–81   Merab Megreladze 11
1981–82   Temur Ebanoidze 9
1982–83   Murtaz Akophiani 14
1983–84   Vakhtang Kopaleishvili 13
1984–85   Gia Tkebuchava 11
1985–86   Besik Phridonashvili 27
1986–87   Viktor Khlus 5
1987–88   Viktor Khlus 21
1988–89   Merab Zhordania 25
1989–90   Otar Korghalidze 21
1990–91   Otar Korghalidze 14
1991–92   Otar Korghalidze 40

ManagersEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Georgia - List of Foundation Dates".
  2. ^ Football 1987. Tbilisi: Georgian Federation of Sport reporters. p. 92.
  3. ^ ""ჩვენ ორნი ვართ ქვეყანაზე _ მე და ევგრაფ შევარდნაძე!"". gurianews.com (in Georgian). 25 January 2012.
  4. ^ ""რას ხედავ, ბიძია, მაქედან?!" _ ლანჩხუთის "გურიას" იუბილე". gurianews.com (in Georgian). 13 November 2011.
  5. ^ "Guria in 1986". teams.by.
  6. ^ "Первый чисто футбольный стадион в Высшей лиге СССР построили только в 1987-м (за два месяца!). Вы ни за что не угадаете, в каком городе". sports.ru (in Russian) 23 April 2020.
  7. ^ "UEFA ranking". mogiel.net.
  8. ^ "USSR 1988-89 Cup". wildstat.com.
  9. ^ "The Soviet First league in 1989". soccer365.ru.
  10. ^ "Грузия и Литва после обретения самостоятельности". ua.tribuna.com (in Russian) 23 March 2020.
  11. ^ "Liga 3 results in 2020". gff.ge.
  12. ^ ""სპორტის რაინდები" _ ლანჩხუთელთა გასული წლის საფეხბურთო აღიარება". gurianews.com (in Georgian). 10 January 2020.
  13. ^ "„გურიას" ლეგენდას ლანჩხუთის საპატიო მოქალაქის წოდება მიენიჭა". gurianews.com (in Georgian). 15 January 2021.
  14. ^ "Guria squad". soccerway.com.

External linksEdit