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Greece and Georgia relieved with wins

Published: Thursday 19 February 2009, 18.29CET
Greece defeated Albania 3-0 and Georgia edged past much-improved UEFA Futsal Championship preliminary round Group C hosts Malta to set up a thrilling Matchday 2 showdown at the Corradino Pavilion.
by Domenic Aquilina
from Corradino Pavilion
Greece and Georgia relieved with wins
Georgia's Archil Bokeria tests Malta goalkeeper Marvin Spiteri ©Domenic Aquilina
 

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Published: Thursday 19 February 2009, 18.29CET

Greece and Georgia relieved with wins

Greece defeated Albania 3-0 and Georgia edged past much-improved UEFA Futsal Championship preliminary round Group C hosts Malta to set up a thrilling Matchday 2 showdown at the Corradino Pavilion.

Greece and Georgia set up a Matchday 2 showdown in UEFA Futsal Championship preliminary round Group C after victories on the opening day in Malta.

Greece relief
Excused from competing in this round two years ago, Greece were keen to make a good start against Albania and Oratios Iliadis gave them a half-time lead before doubling the advantage on 29 minutes. Antonios Manos sealed a 3-0 victory. "It was a very difficult match," Greece coach Stefanos Soilemes told uefa.com. "The first match is always difficult and my players wanted time to settle. I am satisfied but we have two more games to win. We always want to win when we take the pitch."

Georgia hold on
In the second match of the day, host nation Malta went down 3-1 to Georgia, but not before giving the winners a scare. Dato Darchia struck for Georgia in the second minute but Malta came back after the break and Darren Agius claimed a deserved equaliser. However, their hopes were dashed by goals from David Bobokhidze and Giorgi Sozashvili.

Stříž proud
John Cutajar, who starred for Malta, said: "We put up a really positive performance, and in my view we were beaten by the best team in the group. We showed that there was a substantial improvement over previous performances in recent years." Malta coach Michal Stříž, who led the Czech Republic to bronze in 2003, added: "I think this was Malta's best performance ever in a qualification match. I'm satisfied by the performance of the team, even if in the second half we missed a lot of chances, and the second Georgian goal killed the match."

Asatiani praise
His Georgian counterpart Avantil Asatiani added: "This game was very very difficult, well done to Malta for a really good performance. Malta have improved immensely over the two years since we last met here. Every match is difficult, so we look forward to the next games." His team face Greece on Friday and Malta meet Albania.

Last updated: 20/02/09 10.00CET

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