Greece made it two wins from two games to open their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign after defeating Cyprus 2-0. It was a rather easy night for Greece as an early goal from Mitroglou put Greece in the driver’s seat. Mantalos secured Greece’s victory with a goal late in the first half after a careless mistake from Panayi.
Greece looked for an early goal to put the pressure off our National Team and it came in the 12th minute after Tzavellas and Fortounis forced a mistake in the Cypriot backline and Fortounis’ pinpoint pass setup Kostas Mitroglou at the top of the penalty area. The Benfica striker’s well-placed shot beat Panayi to give Greece the early 1-0 lead. Neither team posed a real threat after the goal (Mitroglou made a mess of a good opportunity on the counter attack) as the half was played at a slow pace. Out of nowhere, Greece found a second goal right before the halftime whistle after a poor pass from Panayi ended up at the feet of Petros Mantalos, who cleverly chipped the ball into the back of the net to give Greece the 2-0 advantage into the break.
In the second half, Cyprus came out the better side and created their best chance through Efrem, but his shot did not find the target. With Greece having a comfortable lead, our National Team did not look to attack and increase their advantage. The second half was also played at a very slow pace as the clock approached the 90 minute mark with minimal chances for either side. Greece’s best chance of the half came with Fortounis’ shot that went over the bar in the final minute. The final whistle came and Greece moved to six points in Group H.
Today’s result shows that the Greek National team is slowly re-building their name and confidence after a tragic Euro 2016 Qualifying campaign. It is Greece’s fourth consecutive win and their second in qualifying as they sit on 6 points along with Belgium. On Monday, Greece will travel to Estonia in hopes of making it three wins in qualifying before their November clash with Bosnia at home.
In the other group matches, Belgium showed their dominance by defeating Bosnia 4-0 at home. Estonia also came away with 4-0 victory at home to Gibraltar.
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