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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Football Euro 2012 qualifier - Georgia defeats Croatia (1-0)

TBILISI, Ga. — Levan Kobiashvili's late winner gave Georgia a surprising 1-0 win over Group F leader Croatia in a qualifier for the 2012 European Championship on Saturday.

Kobiashvili converted Georgia's first clear chance of the match, netting in injury time from a pass by Otar Martsvaladze in the box.

Croatia led Georgia by one point after five games.

In other Group F matches, Israel hosted Latvia, while Greece was at Malta.

Croatia dominated possession but rarely threatened the home side's goal.

The visitors' first chance came 24 minutes in when striker Mladen Petric tested Nukri Revishvili with a low shot from 25 metres (yards). Petric had another chance four minutes later, but Revishvili blocked his shot from inside the box.

Midfielder Ivan Rakitic wasted another chance for Croatia in the 29th.

Nikola Kalinic came close for an opener in the 38th, but his low shot from just outside the box was easily blocked by the goalkeeper.

Croatia continued its control after the break, while Georgia relied on counterattacks.

Zurab Khizanishvili twice missed the target before Kobiashvili, left unmarked, hit the left corner of the net with a left-footed kick from nine meters past Vedran Runje.

Croatia press for an equalizer during four minutes of injury time, and late substitute Danijel Pranjic forced Revishvili for a save with one minute left.

Croatia next will host Georgia on June 4.

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Lineups:

Georgia: Nukri Revishvili, Lasha Salukvadze, Akaki Khubutia, Kakha Kaladze, Aleksandr Amisulashvili, Zurab Khizanishvili, Jaba Kankava, Murtaz Daushvili (Gogita Gogua, 73), Aleksandr Iashvili (Otar Martsvaladze, 62), Levan Kobiashvili, Vladimir Dvalishvili (David Siradze, 46).

Croatia: Vedran Runje, Ivan Strinic, Dejan Lovren, Vedran Corluka, Ivan Rakitic, Luka Modric, Darijo Srna, Nikola Kalinic, Tomislav Dujmovic, Niko Kranjcar (Nikica Jelavic, 70), Mladen Petric (Danijel Pranjic, 84).

GEORGIA ON MY MIND!