Mitroglou strikes on the double to put Greece in command against Romania
Olympiakos striker’s brace puts Greeks within touching distance of Brazil
Greece’s Kostas Mitroglou (centre), Dimitris Siovas (left) and Alexandros Tziolis celebrate a goal against Romania at Karaiskaki stadium in Piraeus, near Athens. Photograph: Reuters
GREECE 3 (Mitroglou 14, 66; Salpingidis 21) ROMANIA 1 (Stancu 18)
Kostas Mitroglou scored twice in a hectic first half as Greece beat Romania 3-1 in the first leg of a World Cup qualifying playoff tie in Athens.
The Olympiakos Piraeus striker volleyed Greece in front after 14 minutes following an astute pass from Dimitrios Salpingidis. But the visitors hit back four minutes later via Bogdan Stancu’s header from a clever Gabriel Torje free-kick.
The Greeks retook the lead though almost immediately thanks to Dimitris Salpingidis’s close-range finish, with the chance presented on a plate by Vasilis Torosidis.
Mitroglou added a third in the 66th to increase the advantage and help put Greece in a commanding position. Konstantinos Katsouranis nodded on from a set piece and Mitroglou guided the chance to the net.
Romania’s Costin Lazar was then sent off in stoppage time.
Fernando Santos’ Greece team were well worth the victory that gave them every chance of securing a place in Brazil next year.
GREECE:Karnezis, Holebas, Papastathopoulos, Torosidis, Maniatis (Karagounis 77), Siovas, Tziolis, Katsouranis (Samaris 86), Mitroglou (Gekas 80), Salpingidis, Samaras. Booked: Siovas,Katsouranis.
ROMANIA: Lobont, Gardos, Goian, Rat, Matel, Tanase (Maxim 86), Cocis, Bourceanu (Lazar 74), Torje (Grozav 75), Stancu, Marica. Sent Off: Lazar (90). Booked: Bourceanu, Cocis, Goian, Lazar, Rat.
Referee: Pedro Proenca (Portugal).