Greece began the World Cup Qualifying round with a 1-4 victory away to Gibraltar. Mitrolgou opened the score before Gibraltar surprisingly equalized in the 26th minute. Three goals in the final three minutes were enough for Greece to get all three points. Greece will host Cyprus next on October 7th.
As expected, Greece dominated the possession early on and had opportunities to score, but could not find the target. The breakthrough came in the 10th minute with an acrobatic effort from Kostas Mitroglou that was well placed in the corner to beat Perez. Despite getting only a few touches on the ball, Gibraltar threatened on a couple of occasions and in the 26th minute the hosts surprisingly equalized! Walker beat Tzavellas and his shot found the top corner, leaving no chance for Karnezis. The goal surprised our national team with the half heading for a 1-1 draw. However a late push with 3 minutes remaining in the half resulted in THREE goals for our national team! In the 44th minute, Torosidis’ cross was met by Wiseman who turned the ball into his own net. One minute later, Mitroglou’s chipped pass sent Fortounis in on goal and he beat the opposing keeper to give Greece the 1-3 lead. Greece was not done there and a low-fast paced shot from Torosidis capped off an emphatic final three minutes to give Greece a comfortable 1-4 lead into the break.
Gibraltar started off the better side in the second half with their first good chance (denied by Karnezis) coming in the 50th minute. Fortounis responded with a shot of his own and Gibraltar had a sure goal, but Garcia could not put the ball into an open net. In the 70th minute, Bakasetas came close to his first goal with the Ethniki however Perez denied him from close range. Perez once again came away with another great save, this time from Torosidis’s header in the 78th minute. Gianniotas was also denied by Perez in stoppage time, capping off a disappointing second 45 minutes from the National team.
Greece will be happy with the 3 points and positive start to qualifying. Although Gibraltar is by far the weakest team in the group, any win for the National Team will continue to build the players confidence for the qualifying campaign ahead. After essentially sealing the victory in the first half, Greece will be only be disappointed that the margin of victory remained at three goals (goal differential is the first tie-breaker in World Cup qualifying, not head to head matches). Greece will host Cyprus on October 7th for the second matchday in Group H.
In the other matches in Group H, Bosnia defeated Estonia 5-0 while Belgium won in Cyprus 0-3.
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