Greece get the better of ten-man Georgia
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Georgia 1-2 Greece
Late goals from Giorgos Fotakis and Angelos Charisteas booked Greece an automatic berth at UEFA EURO 2012 as Group F winners.
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Greece trailed Georgia at the interval in their final Group F game, but late goals from Giorgos Fotakis and Angelos Charisteas ensured that they will travel to UEFA EURO 2012 as the top side in their section.
David Targamadze put Georgia ahead after 19 minutes yet his team were reduced to ten men when he left the pitch injured with 20 minutes to go, Temuri Ketsbaia having already used all three of his substitutes. Fotakis's deflected leveller gave Fernando Santos's men the point they knew would secure them top spot and Charisteas's 85th-minute strike then kept them two points clear of second-ranked Croatia.
With midfielder Levan Kobiashvili having been honoured before kick-off with a UEFA award to mark his 100th cap, Georgia were in positive mood, and they soaked up early pressure from the visitors before scoring from their first meaningful chance, Targamadze's cross into the box eluding his team-mates as well as goalkeeper Alexandros Tzorvas on its way into the net.
Georgia looked to make the most of their good fortune as No1 Nukri Revishvili parried a Kostas Katsouranis free-kick, and Fanis Gekas fired another chance over as Greece struggled to respond. Targamadze had an opportunity to double Georgia's lead just after the break, but Tzorvas was equal to his effort.
It proved to be a crucial save and, when Targamadze was taken off, Greece were able to press home their numerical advantage. Fotakis's effort took a couple of kind touches before speeding past Revishvili and Katsouranis then set up Charisteas – back in the team after a year-long absence – to put the game beyond the home team.