Match ends, Greece 3, Romania 1.
Konstantinos Mitroglou scored twice as Greece built a deserved World Cup play-off first-leg advantage with victory over Romania in Athens.
The Olympiakos striker, 25, volleyed an opener and struck again to add to Dimitris Salpingidis's close-range finish as Greece recorded a seventh successive win.
Romania, who had Costin Lazar sent off in stoppage time, were briefly level through Bogdan Stancu's header.
The sides meet on Tuesday in Bucharest.
Greece missed out on automatically qualifying for Brazil 2014 as a result of inferior goal difference to Group G winners Bosnia-Hercegovina.
Fernando Santos's side had not conceded in six outings ahead of the visit of Romania and their fine form continued when Mitroglou volleyed in after a superb delivery from Salpingidis on 14 minutes.
Stancu leapt to convert Gabriel Torje's free-kick just two minutes later and give the Group D runners-up an away goal, but Salpingidis capped an engrossing opening quarter with a tap-in to restore the home lead.
The Euro 2004 winners continued to control proceedings and Celtic's Georgios Samaras could have extended the advantage, before Mitroglou added his 19th goal for club and country this season.
He latched on to Kostas Katsouranis's flick-on to put the result on the night beyond doubt with a powerful finish and could have scored a third, but for good goalkeeping by Bogdan Lobont.
Greece captain Katsouranis was booked and will miss the second leg, as will Romania's Lazar, who saw red in injury time for a second bookable offence.
Greece coach Fernando Santos:
"The players worked very hard and this paid off.
"But we can't go into the next match acting like we have the advantage. That would be risky. We are going to fight very hard to stay ahead.''
Romania coach Victor Piturca:
"I expected a difficult night and that's what it was.
"They took the lead so quickly after the equalizer. And I don't want to talk about the third goal. It looked like something that happens in a school playground."
- 5SiovasBooked at 40mins
- 2ManiatisSubstituted forKaragounisat 77'minutes
- 21KatsouranisBooked at 62minsSubstituted forSamarisat 86'minutes
- 9MitroglouSubstituted forGekasat 80'minutes
- 3RatBooked at 90mins
- 5BourceanuBooked at 26minsSubstituted forLazarat 75'minutesBooked at 90mins
- 15GoianBooked at 43mins
- 11TorjeSubstituted forGrozavat 75'minutes
- 21CocisBooked at 35mins
- 10TanaseSubstituted forMaximat 87'minutes
- Pedro Proença
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Greece 3, Romania 1.
Attempt missed. Georgios Samaras (Greece) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Giorgos Karagounis with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Greece. Conceded by Bogdan Lobont.
Razvan Rat (Romania) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Razvan Rat (Romania).
Sokratis (Greece) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Second yellow card to Costin Lazar (Romania) for a bad foul.
Foul by Costin Lazar (Romania).
Jose Holebas (Greece) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Alexandru Maxim (Romania) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Giorgos Karagounis (Greece).
Offside, Greece. Giorgos Karagounis tries a through ball, but Theofanis Gekas is caught offside.
Foul by Alexandru Maxim (Romania).
Vasilis Torosidis (Greece) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Costin Lazar (Romania) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Costin Lazar (Romania).
Dimitrios Salpingidis (Greece) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Romania. Alexandru Maxim replaces Cristian Tanase.
Substitution, Greece. Andreas Samaris replaces Konstantinos Katsouranis.