SPORTS

Belarus stuns Greece in Piraeus friendly

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Soccer

The five-game winning streak of the Greek national soccer team came to an end on Wednesday as Belarus stunned the Euro 2004 winner with a 1-0 friendly win at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus.

Fielding a second-string team, and saving his top pick for Sunday’s significant World Cup qualifier with Bosnia, coach Michael Skibbe wanted to see the alternative options in his hands. However when he saw that his team was about to concede an unlikely defeat, he started introducing some of his best players such as Costas Fortounis and Giorgos Tzavellas.

The visitors scored from a spectacular free-kick from 25 yards out as Sjarhej Palicevic beat Greece keeper Panayiotis Glykos after 14 minutes. Belarus could have scored again in the first 20 minutes, but the hosts were spared another goal.

The Greek team created its first goal-scoring chance no earlier than on the 32nd minute, and only showed some real improvement from the start of the second half.

The Greeks tried a number of shots at the Belarus goal in the second half, evidently lagging in team communication and preparation that would allow for organized efforts.

"We did not like the result, but friendly games are just better than training," said Skibbe after the match.

Greece is already without injured defender Costas Manolas and goalkeeper Stefanos Kapino ahead of the Bosnia game on Sunday, also at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium.

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