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Greece cede Group F initiative with Latvia draw

Published: Tuesday 6 September 2011, 23.26CET
Latvia 1-1 Greece
Kyriakos Papadopoulos equalised six minutes from time but Fernando Santos's side still surrendered first place in Group F.
Greece cede Group F initiative with Latvia draw
Latvia's Oskars Kļava duels with Greece's Giorgos Samaras ©Getty Images
Published: Tuesday 6 September 2011, 23.26CET

Greece cede Group F initiative with Latvia draw

Latvia 1-1 Greece
Kyriakos Papadopoulos equalised six minutes from time but Fernando Santos's side still surrendered first place in Group F.

A draw in Riga saw Greece lose first place in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group F, but they had reason to feel relieved at getting a point after trailing Latvia for much of the game.

Unexpectedly fielded alongside Māris Verpakovskis in a two-man forward line, PFC CSKA Moskva winger Aleksandrs Cauņa put the home side ahead on 19 minutes, and Greece feared their luck was out after a raft of missed chances until Kyriakos Papadopoulos's effort following a corner with six minutes to go. However, Croatia are now a point in front ahead of their 7 October trip to Piraeus.

The hero of Latvia's UEFA EURO 2004 campaign, Verpakovskis started their goalscoring move, feeding the ball to Oļegs Laizāns, whose pass set up Cauņa to beat Michalis Sifakis with a strike from the edge of the box. Cauņa came close again from a free-kick not long afterwards.

Greece had seen one early chance go begging when Dimitris Salpingidis fluffed his shot when well placed, and had more cause for concern after Andris Vaņins plucked Giorgios Karagounis's goal-bound shot from under his crossbar.

With Aleksandrs Starkovs' side retreating to preserve their lead, Greece pushed on, Salpingidis and Giorgos Samaras passing up further opportunities before a series of deflections saw Papadopoulos's strike sneak into the Latvian net.

Last updated: 05/12/12 8.46CET

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