Cyprus get first win of the group

Cyprus 2 Georgia 1

Cyprus 2 Georgia 1

Cyprus survived late pressure in Larnaca to post their first victory in World Cup Qualifying Group Eight at the expense of Georgia.

Michalis Constantinou opened the scoring for the hosts in the 33rd minute and Demetris Christofi doubled their advantage 11 minutes after the interval.

Levan Kobiashvili pulled one back for Georgia 19 minutes from time from the penalty spot.

Coach Angelos Anastasiadis was without key players Constantinos Charalampidis and Ioannis Okkas, but the Cypriots made home advantage count in a game Hector Cuper’s men were always chasing.

Cyprus took the lead on 33 minutes when a swift counter-attack led to Chrysostomos Mihail releasing the bustling Constantinou, and the AC Omonia striker squeezed his effort past Giorgi Lomaia.

Georgia attempted to rally in the first half but struggled to break down the well organised Cypriot defence as Levan Mchedzidze, who limped off injured on 28 minutes, and the busy Beka Gotsiridze failed to find a way past Elias Charalambous and Paraskevas Christou.

Cyprus doubled their lead in the 56th minute after yet another quick counter-attack released Constantinou, who played a pass into the path of Marinos Satsias. His scuffed effort on goal was turned in by AC Omonia youngster Christofi.

Gotsiridze was a threat for Georgia and they got the break they needed on 71 minutes when he was fouled in the area by Mihail.

Captain Kobiashvili drove the penalty past goalkeeper Antonis Giorgallides to spring the Georgians back into life at the Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium, to the delight of the 60 travelling fans.

That gave the visitors hope but the Cypriot defence held firm. David Siradze and Alexandre Iashvili tested Giorgallides with headers in the last 10 minutes but could not find the equaliser.

The hosts continued to look threatening on the counter-attack as APOEL FC midfielder Nektarios Alexandrou pegged the Georgians back into their own area with his darting runs while substitutes Andreas Avraam and Yiasoumis Yiasoumi saw late strikes saved by Lomaia.

The final whistle was greeted with joy from the majority of the 1,161 supporters as Cyprus celebrated their first three points of the qualifying campaign.

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