Fortounis keeps Greece in semi-final contention

Romania 0-1 Greece
Kostas Fortounis scored the only goal against the tournament hosts to ensure Greece kept alive their hopes of reaching the semi-finals.

Romania's Ionuţ Năstăsie has an attempt on goal during his side's defeat by Greece
Romania's Ionuţ Năstăsie has an attempt on goal during his side's defeat by Greece ©Nicolae Profir, Romanian FA

Greece got their UEFA European Under-19 Championship campaign back on track as Kostas Fortounis' first-half goal proved enough to defeat Romania in Berceni, a result that leaves the hosts' hopes hanging by a thread.

Having each been defeated in their opening Group A games on Wednesday, neither side had any margin for error and a cautious opening period was the result. Greece gained the upper hand through Fortounis' assured finish eight minutes before the break, however, and held firm throughout an even second half to get back into semi-final contention.

It was Leonidas Vokolos' Greece who had the only chance of note in a cagey opening half-hour, Anastasios Bakasetas sliding a pass through to Charis Mavrias, but the No7's aim was fractionally wayward and the ball slipped wide. Fortounis was more clinical when played in by Dimitris Kolovos in the 37th minute, taking one touch to control and clipping a shot over the advancing Laurenţiu Brănescu with his second.

Having worked so hard to get in front, Greece almost let their advantage slip before half-time. Ionuţ Năstăsie exchanged passes with Alin Cărstocea and Stefanos Kapino had to get down sharply to palm away a low shot that looked destined for the far corner. Greece failed to clear the resulting corner, which broke perfectly for Romario Benzar seven metres out but his shot hit the goalkeeper.

That flurry of activity did not herald a more open second half, however, although Bakasetas might have made the points safe for Greece, steering a left-wing Fortounis cross just past the near post. A sizeable home crowd were roused when Mihai Roman's overhead kick landed on the roof of the Greece goal before Kapino made a memorable double save to deny Cărstocea and Ionuţ Gugu.

Match-winner Fortounis raced clear in added time but could not beat Brănescu again. His revived side next take on section leaders the Czech Republic on Tuesday, while to have any hope of staying in the competition Romania must now beat the Republic of Ireland.