Tzavellas the HERO! A tremendous strike from Giorgos Tzavellas in the 5th minute of stoppage time equalized Pjanic’s first half goal to give Greece a point from today’s qualifier against Bosnia-Herzegovina. The 1-1 draw keeps Greece in second place of Group H, 3-points ahead of Bosnia. The visitors were overall the better side and both teams were stuck with 10-men in the 80th minute.
Both teams played conservatively in the opening minutes of the game. In the 13th minute, Greece created their first chance with Fortounis’ in-swinging free kick that was not met by a Greek player and went out. During the play, Torosidis was clearly held by a Bosnian defender and rightfully asked for a penalty that was not awarded by the Swedish referee. The visitors began to take control of the midfield from the 15th minute and pinned Greece in their half of the field. Papastathopoulos made a saving tackle as Dzeko was in on goal and in the 21st minute Hajrovic’s curling shot just went wide. One minute later, Dzeko was set up at the top of the penalty area but his shot was well off target. In the 32nd minute, luck was not on Greece’s side. Pjanic’s free-kick went over the wall, hit the post to stay out, but the ball hit Karnezis’ back and went into the back of the net for an unfortunate own goal. The goal brought celebrations to the away supporters as they lit flares at the Karaiskaki Stadium and the referee stopped the game for a few minutes. At the end of the half, Greece had a tremendous chance to pull level when Mitroglou was played in on goal by Samaris, but the Benfica striker was stopped by Begovic. The first half ended with Bosnia ahead 0-1 and with a clear advantage on the pitch.
Nine minutes into the second half, Greece came inches away from pulling level when Fortounis’ shot was well saved by Begovic and hit the post to stayed out. Although Greece put on a better showing in the second half, Bosnia continued to create more chances as the game progressed. Dzeko was denied by Karnezis in the 61st and 67th minute (one-on-one chances) and the best chance for the visitors fell to Pjanic in the 73rd minute, but his shot from inside the penalty area went out. After a small scuffle between the players of both sides (including Dzeko pulling down Papastathopoulos' shorts), each team was left with 10-men as Dzeko and Papadopoulos were sent off. Greece knew that they needed a goal to save at least a point from tonight's match and the Galanolefki began to press Bosnia in the final minutes. The all-important equalizer came with the final kick of the game when the ball was cleared out by the Bosnian defense, setting up Tzavellas outside the penalty area and his TREMENDOUS strike left no chance to Begovic. All the players rushed to celebrate in the corner as Greece earned a point (which seems like a victory) from today’s match keeping them in control for second place in the group.
Today’s draw keeps Greece in second place with 10-points from 4 games as Bosnia sit in third with 7-points. Greece’s next match will be in March against the group leaders, Belgium, who thrashed Estonia 8-1 and stayed perfect to start World Cup Qualifying.
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