SPORTS

Greece debutants go down to Saudi Arabia

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Soccer

An experimental Greece, consisting only of Super League players plus Alexandros Tziolis, lost 2-0 to Saudi Arabia in a friendly in Spain on Tuesday. Greece played the entire second half with 10 men.

National team coach Michael Skibbe was eager to see some new players in the squad ahead of the Nations League that kicks off in September. However he may have not had the chance to see what he wanted, as the Greeks lacked cohesion and produced very little.

Nine Greeks made their international debut in this friendly in Seville, which is what will probably make this match remembered for in the future after a forgettable performance by the national team. It was only the two Greek efforts against the woodwork that were worth noting.

Saudi Arabia, that is preparing for its presence in this summer’s World Cup, took an early lead through a great team effort. The Saudis played the ball in the air inside the box, the Greek defense failed to clear and Salem al-Dawsari produced a clever driving header that found the back of the net on the 19th minute.

Tasos Bakasetas’s freekick hit the upright 13 minutes later, before Dimitris Giannoulis received a harsh red card on the 43rd minute for allegedly fouling an opponent who was clear on goal. Television replays showed it was hardly a foul.

Twelve minutes from the end Greece hit the goal frame again via Efthymis Koulouris and a minute later it conceded a second goal to Mohamed Kanno who was allowed to try a left-foot shot from the edge of the six-yard area.

Greece's next game is another friendly, on June 2, against Iran.

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