Slaven Bilic's side suffer first loss in qualifying thanks to Kobiashvili goal, while hosts secure a vital three points to pile pressure on front runners in table
Georgia 1-0 Croatia
After a dull first half, the teams went back to their dressing rooms only having mustered three shots between them – all of them going to the away side, with Ivan Rakitic and Nikola Kalinic forcing saves from Georgia ‘keeper Nukri Revishvili.
The tempo was upped in the early part of the second half though, with Djumovic testing Revishvili, and Mladen Petric putting a shot just wide, closely followed by Levan Kobiashvili putting Georgia’s first attempt wide.
Despite Croatia dominating large parts of the second half, it was the Georgians who grabbed a surprise winner in the last minute of normal time through Kobiashvili. The away side fought back in stoppage time but a Perisic shot failed to test Revishvili, and Pranjic’s 93rd minute effort forced a corner which they failed to take advantage of.
It was the first defeat for Croatia in the qualifiers, while Georgia remain unbeaten and have picked up nine points from five games.
There was a bright start to the match in Tel Aviv, with both 'keepers being tested early on and the breakthrough came in the 16th minute as Genk striker Elyaniv Barda scored following a shot from Omar Damari.
The rest of the first half was open – both sides getting shots on goal, but neither team could add to the tally for the day.
The early part of the second half remained open, and sure enough, in the 62nd minute, Latvia captain Kaspars Gorkss equalised for the away side following a free kick from Jurijs Zigajevs. Israel came back stronger after conceding, with a string of shots, but failed to work Andris Vanins in the Latvian goal.
Latvia had their chances too – Lukjanovs putting an effort wide following another Zigajevs free kick. Israel regained their lead in the 81st minute however through Celtic midfielder Beram Kayal’s first international goal.
Latvia remained a threat from Zigajev’s set pieces, and Ivanovs couldn’t find the target from one such occasion, but barring that, the visitors failed to trouble the home side again.
The result allows Israel, who remain fourth, to keep the pressure on Croatia, Greece and Georgia, but puts a serious dent in Latvia's hopes for qualifying - they remain fifth, six points behind Croatia.