SPORTS

Greece beats Gibraltar and banishes ghosts

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Soccer

Greece survived a first-half scare by Gibraltar to begin its campaign for qualifying to the 2018 World Cup with a 4-1 away win, all goals coming in the first half of the game on Tuesday.

Far from convincing against a particularly weak opponent, Greece let an early lead – through a Costas Mitroglou volley on the 10th minute – as Liam Walker capitalized on the second chance Gibraltar got in the game to equalize on the 26th, with a great shot to the top right-hand corner of the Orestis Karnezis goal.

The ghosts of the home and away losses to the Faroe Islands in the Euro 2016 qualifiers started haunting the Greece players, and it took an own goal by Scott Wiseman on the 44th to restore order at the neutral venue of Faro – as Gibraltar does not yet have a ground to comply with FIFA standards.

At that point the amateur players of the home team collapsed and Greece managed to score two more goals before the half-time whistle, first through Costas Fortounis from a great through ball by Mitroglou, and then by a solo effort by captain Vassilis Torosidis from the right. Three goals within four minutes.

Although goal difference will count at the end of the qualifying group, Greece could not add to its tally on the night, as it missed all the chances it created in the second half, partly due to the performance of the Gibraltar goalkeeper, Jordan Perez. Thankfully Gibraltar also ailed to covert its own couple of second-half opportunities.

In its next game on October 7 Greece will host Cyprus, who lost 3-0 at home to Belgium on Tuesday.

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