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Switzerland defeat Greece to move to group top

Switzerland have defeated Greece 2-0 to move into first place in their group in a football World Cup qualifying match in Basel.

This content was published on September 5, 2009 - 22:32

Stéphane Grichting put the Swiss side ahead in the 83rd minute, followed by Marco Padalino in the 88th. For both players, it was the first goals for the national squad.

The Swiss went into the match second in the group behind Greece. Both teams had 13 points but the Greeks boasted a superior goal difference. Only the top finisher is guaranteed a trip to South Africa.

In front of a sold out crowd of more than 38,000, the Swiss - as to be expected - showed more offence than their opponents, but came up against a strong Greek defence.

Tranquillo Barnetta showed some quick moves to get a chance on goal in the 41st minute, with his attempt deflected behind the net, resulting in a corner.

Loukas Vyntra of Greece received a yellow card in the jostling in the front of the Greek goal ahead of the corner. He was given a second yellow for complaining and had to leave the pitch. The Swiss suddenly found themselves playing with a one-man advantage.

The Swiss started the second half where they left off in the first - with Barnetta attacking, winning another two corners.

While the home side attempted to create chances, it was the Greeks - obviously playing for a draw to remain atop the group - who were closest to taking the lead.

A shot from close range was deflected off the crossbar by Swiss goalkeeper Diego Benaglio.

But it was the Swiss who finally found the target with Grichting agressively heading a ball into the net off a free kick from Hakan Yakin just outside the penalty area.

The Swiss have now played seven of ten world cup qualifiers, with their next match on Wednesday against Latvia.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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