A header from Vassilis Torosidis with the last touch of the game helped 10-man Greece beat Malta and move to the top of Group F.
With Croatia having lost earlier in the day, Greece knew a win would put them at the summit but, for 93 minutes they, and striker Kostas Katsouranis in particular, were denied by the brilliance of goalkeeper Justin Haber.
The 2004 winners looked stumped, especially when Socratis Papastathopoulos was sent off with six minutes left but, in the 94th minute, Torosidis denied Malta their first point of qualifying.
Greece fashioned the first chance, Katsouranis heading straight at Haber, with the same player dragging wide from inside the box not long after.
It was all one-way traffic, with Nikos Liberopoulos heading at Haber and then Dimitris Salpingidis driving at the keeper's legs.
Katsouranis was again denied by Haber as Greece poured forward, and the situation almost became farcical as Katsouranis missed another chance when he put a free header over the bar.
Shaun Bajada finally registered some attacking intent for Malta with a shot from inside the area, before Daniel Bogdanovic took aim from outside the area to little effect.
Katsouranis and Haber resumed their personal duel after the break, with Haber saving low with his legs, before Katsouranis drilled over.
Liberopoulos then powered a header against the bar before seeing a strike from distance saved by Haber.
The stopper had been outstanding and continued to excel as he kept out Georgios Samaras, before coach Fernando Santos finally lost patience with the misfiring Katsouranis and substituted him.
Michael Mifsud broke into the Greece box and should have done better with 10 minutes left, before Greece were reduced to 10 men when Papastathopoulos was dismissed for bringing down Mifsud.
Haber then produced a stunning save to tip a Kostas Mitroglou header behind, but, with time almost up, he could do nothing when Torosidis got on the end of a Giorgos Karagounis cross.