SPORTS

Scoreless Greece gets gift from Cyprus

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Soccer

Greece failed to beat Estonia at home, conceding a goalless draw on Thursday in Piraeus for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers, but the triumph of Cyprus over Bosnia in Nicosia (3-2) has stretched the advantage the Greeks have over the Bosnians to two points, with three games left to play in the group.

The team of manager Michael Skibbe beat Estonia 2-0 away last year, but this time it proved unable to break down the Estonian defense at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium.

Skibbe had to field a rather experimental team given the absence of key players such as Costas Mitroglou, Vassilis Torosodis, Sokratis Papastathopoulos etc.

Nottingham Forest striker Apostolos Vellios was alone up front, facing a five-man Estonian defense.

The mediocre performance of the Greeks produced few goal-scoring opportunities, which mostly fell to Vellios and to energetic Tasos Donis. At the other end Estonia was rather toothless in attack, so the stalemate was a quite fair result after such a game.

All in all a missed chance for Greece to clinch the second spot in the group.

On Sunday Greece hosts group leader Belgium in Piraeus. Belgium is on 19 points, Greece is second with 13, Bosnia is on 11 and Cyprus on 10. The group winner qualifies directly to the finals while the runner-up faces a two-leg play-off.

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