SPORTS

Greece tops Euro 2012 group after late winner in Malta

Greece have gone clear at the top of Group F in the qualifying for Euro 2012 after an injury time Vassilis Torosidis header gave them a 1-0 win away to struggling Malta.

A disappointing game ended on a high for Greece as the Olympiakos defender rose high in a crowded Maltese penalty box in the fourth minute of injury time to flick the ball into the net after Kostas Mitroglou had volleyed a free kick into the ground.

The three points probably flattered Greece as coach Fernando Santos?s men had produced very little good play during the game although Malta rarely threatened the Greek goal either.

Barring a Nikos Liberopoulos header that hit the bar and a shot from Kostas Katsouranis that was palmed away, several hundred Greece fans that made their way to Valleta had little to cheer.

There were also fears that Greece would lose the game when defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos was sent off with about five minutes to go when he picked up a second yellow card.

But not only did Greece hold on, they got the vital goal with just 20 seconds of the four minutes of added time left.

The win lifts Greece to first place on 11 points after five games as the previous leaders Croatia suffered a 1-0 defeat in Georgia to remain stuck on 10 points. The Georgians have nine.

Israel beat Latvia 2-1 at home to move to seven points. Latvia have four but Malta remained rooted to the bottom with five defeats from five games.