NICOSIA (Reuters) - Greece leapt up to second in their World Cup qualifying group after a crucial 2-1 away win over Cyprus on Saturday, almost certainly eliminating Bosnia in the process.
Greece have 16 points from nine games in Group H, nine behind group winners Belgium and two ahead of Bosnia who lost 4-3 at home to the Belgians earlier on Saturday. The Greeks’ final game appears to be a formality at home to Gibraltar who have lost all nine games.
The winners of the nine European groups qualify directly for Russia next year and the best eight of the nine runners-up play off for four more places.
Greece had drawn four and lost one of their previous five games in the group and fell behind in the 18th minute, Pieros Sotiriou scoring at the second attempt after his first shot was saved by Orestis Karnezis.
Cyprus, on 10 points, could have stayed in contention but an awful mistake by Konstantinos Laifis six minutes later let Greece back into the game.
The hapless Laifis gave the ball away near the edge of the penalty area and it was quickly slipped to Kostas Mitroglou who fired the equaliser.
Greece went ahead two minutes later when Alexandros Tziolis rose at the far post to score with a powerful header.
Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Rex Gowar