Greece paid for two lapses of defensive concentration in the second half to go down 2-0 to Italy in Rome, after a decent performance that could have merited a better result in this Euro 2020 qualifier on Saturday.
Greece coach John van’t Schip made eight changes from Greece’s previous match, leaving out the defensive mainstays of Costas Manolas and Sokratis Papastathopoulos. The less experienced but more athletic team worked well to fill the gaps in defense and the midfield, but once again produced little up front.
The first half went by without any major scares for Greece, as the double line of defense contained the Italian attacks keeping the hosts’ forwards at bay.
It was actually Greece that threatened first in the game on the 12th minute through a Dimitris Limnios shot that Italian keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma pushed away.
Paschalakis came to Greece’s rescue early in the second half, and on the hour mark Efthymis Koulouris could turn in a Limnios cross from the right from a quite tight angle.
A couple of minutes later Andreas Bouchalakis stretched his left arm to stop an Italian shot inside the area, the referee duly pointed at the penalty spot and Jorginho opened the score on the 63rd sending Paschalakis the wrong way.
Less than 15 minutes on Paschalakis had to pick up the ball once again from his net after failing to clear a long-range diagonal shot by Federico Bernardeschi.
While Italy has mathematically clinched qualification after this win, Greece is left with five points from seven matches. On Tuesday it hosts Bosnia in Athens.