By Vassiliki Papantonopoulou
Greece kept themselves in contention in UEFA European Under-21 Championship Group 2 with a convincing victory against Kazakhstan in Athens.
Kazakhstan, still to gain a point four games into their debut campaign, were overrun by the hosts and conceded a penalty on nine minutes when Nikita Khokhlov handled in the area. Greece captain Evagelos Mantzios missed from the spot, but soon more than made up for that.
In the 19th minute the Panionios NFC striker made it 1-0 after a fine move involving Nikos Spiropoulos, Fanourios Goundoulakis and Charis Pappas. Mantzios doubled Greece's advantage on the stroke of half-time following an assist from Goundoulakis, and completed his hat-trick just two minutes after the interval, heading in another Goundoulakis cross.
Dimitrios Pliagas was then brought on for playmaker Pappas, and the substitute scored on 82 and 86 minutes to seal the win, taking Greece's total to seven points from four games, as they lie fourth. Leaders Denmark, three points ahead, are their next visitors on 8 February, with Kazakhstan also returning to action against the Danes in Farum on 25 March.