By George Georgakopoulos
Greece continued its long string of 1-0 wins with a friendly victory over Ireland at Lansdowne Road on Wednesday, thanks to Jose Holebas's first goal for the national team.
One month after its 1-0 win at Slovakia for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, the team of coach Fernando Santos played another cautious game in Dublin and could have conceded a penalty had the referee seen the handball by debutant Costas Stafylidis in the box in the very first minute of the game.
Greece was lucky to keep a clean sheet after the first 20 minutes, but then it improved its game significantly and after missing two chances with Sotiris Ninis and Costas Mitroglou, Holebas struck in the 29th minute with a powerful right-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area.
In what was the first game without any of the players who won Euro 2004, Greece dropped back after scoring and waited for the Irish attacks, that keeper Orestis Karnezis excelled in dealing with, while producing little in attack.
The match also signalled the Greece debut for AS Roma's Panayiotis Tachtsidis and the first game with Dimitris Salpingidis wearing the armband, after captain Giorgos Samaras was substituted.