World Cup qualifiers: Greece keep pace with Bosnia after narrow victory
Last Updated: 10/09/13 10:36pm
Dimitris Salpingidis scored the lone goal as Greece secured victory over Latvia
Greece kept pace with Bosnia at the top of Group G as Dimitris Salpingidis' goal gave them a vital win over Latvia in Piraeus as both sides ended the game with 10 men.
Salpingidis netted after 58 minutes to reward a Greek performance which was dominant in terms of attacking possession, even if clear-cut chances were at a premium.
The win, which had shades of their previous laborious victory over Liechtenstein, meant Greece stayed level with Bosnia-Herzegovina - who beat Slovakia 2-1 - at the top of the World Cup qualification group, while also assuring them of second place at the very least.
The game took an unsavoury twist at the end, as Latvia defender Ritvars Rugins was sent off for violent conduct in the 86th minute before Greece midfielder Kostas Katsouranis was also shown a red card in the 90th minute for his second bookable offence.
Greece made a lively start and could have been 2-0 up inside 10 minutes. First Kostas Mitroglou sent a header in on goal in the fifth minute but Latvia goalkeeper Aleksandrs Kolinko held on.
Then four minutes later Salpingidis had a chance from close range but he could not find the target with his left-foot effort. Mitroglou had another chance just after the half-hour mark but this time his header was wide.
Again it was Greece doing most of the running at the start of the second half and they were rewarded with a goal just before the hour mark.
Georgios Samaras played in Salpingidis, who sent a left-foot strike low past Aleksandrs Kolinko from close range.
Chances were few and far between from there on with Greece content to protect their lead.
They came away with the win they needed, though their inferior goal difference means they remain second favourites to win the group.
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Tue 10th Sep - Group F
Russia3 - 1Israel
Luxembourg3 - 2N Ireland
Tue 10th Sep - Group G
Lithuania2 - 0Liechtenstein
Slovakia1 - 2Bosnia
Greece1 - 0Latvia
Tue 10th Sep - Group B
Armenia0 - 1Denmark
Malta1 - 2Bulgaria
Italy2 - 1Czech Rep
Tue 10th Sep - Group C
Kazakhstan0 - 1Sweden
Austria1 - 0Rep Ireland
Faroe Islands0 - 3Germany
Tue 10th Sep - Group E
Norway0 - 2Switzerland
Cyprus0 - 2Slovenia
Iceland2 - 1Albania
Tue 10th Sep - Group I
Georgia0 - 1Finland
Belarus2 - 4France
Tue 10th Sep - Group D
Romania0 - 2Turkey
Andorra0 - 2Netherlands
Hungary5 - 1Estonia
Tue 10th Sep - Group A
Macedonia1 - 2Scotland
Wales0 - 3Serbia
Tue 10th Sep - Group H
San Marino1 - 5Poland
Ukraine0 - 0England
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C
|4||Republic of Ireland||10||14|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I