ATHENS (Reuters) - Kostas Mitroglou scored twice as Greece beat Romania 3-1 in the first leg of a World Cup qualifying playoff tie on Friday at the Georgios Karaiskakis stadium in Athens.
The Olympiakos Piraeus striker volleyed Greece in front after 14 minutes 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 immediately thanks to Dimitris Salpingidis's close-range finish, while Mitroglou added a third in the 66th to increase the advantage. 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 after the return leg against Victor Piturca's side in Bucharest next Tuesday.
(This version of the story removes reference to first-half in the lead.)
(Reporting by Graham Wood, editing by Alan Baldwin)