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Georgia leave it late to break Maltese resistance

Georgia 1-0 Malta
David Siradze's header in the first minute of added time condemned Malta to a third successive Group F loss.

Georgia defender Kakha Kaladze shadows Malta's Andrew Cohen
Georgia defender Kakha Kaladze shadows Malta's Andrew Cohen ©Getty Images

An added-time goal from David Siradze gave Georgia their first competitive victory under Temuri Ketsbaia and left Malta without a point in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying.

Georgia, who drew their opening two matches in Group F, were frustrated by the visitors in a first half of few opportunities in Tbilisi. Chances were more forthcoming after the break but just as it seemed John Buttigieg's charges would hold firm for a draw, Siradze broke their resistance with a late header which lifts Georgia to the top of the section ahead of Israel's encounter with Croatia on Saturday.

Malta proved obdurate opposition in the first period, with Georgia's best opening falling Gogita Gogua, whose powerful shot was blocked by goalkeeper Justin Haber. Malkhaz Asatiani, Gogua and Kakha Kaladze all tried their luck after the break without reward, while with pressure mounting a Siradze shot was cleared off the line after Asatiani had beaten four players in the build-up. Perseverance paid off for the PFC Spartak Nalchik player, however, as he rose to head in Kaladze's cross in the first minute of added time.