By George Georgakopoulos
Greece scored its second win in as many games at the start of its World Cup qualifying group on Tuesday, as a decent second half in Piraeus was enough for it to down Lithuania 2-0.
Goals by Sotiris Ninis and Costas Mitroglou unlocked the visitors’ defense that had kept a clean sheet up to the 57th minute of the game at the Karaiskakis Stadium.
As usual, the Greek team was unable to score in the first half despite coming close in several instances, such as a Fanis Gekas header in the 23rd minute and a Ninis freekick that pulled a great save from the Lithuanian keeper four minutes later. However, the complete dominance of the Greeks, with 68 percent of ball possession, was a good omen ahead of the second half.
With the introduction of Mitroglou as a second forward for Greece, the Lithuanian defense had serious problems in coping with the extra pressure.
Mitroglou was denied twice in the first 10 minutes, before Ninis took the ball from the edge of the box, passed the ball from his left to his right to beat an opponent and unleash a shot that defeated the keeper in the 57th minute.
Then Ninis turned from scorer to provider as he sent Mitroglou through with only the keeper to beat in the 72nd and the Olympiakos striker made no mistake. A left-foot tap-in was enough for 2-0, sealing Greece’s victory.
Much as Lithuania tried to change its fate, it was impossible on the night to bend the Greek defense.
The result means Greece has joined Bosnia-Herzegovina on top of the group with six points, with the two sides set to face each other next in Piraeus in October.