SPORTS

Greece learns that coming close is not enough

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Soccer

Greece failed to score again against Slovenia at home, so the 0-0 draw at Rizoupoli in Athens on Wednesday sent the Slovenians through to the final stage of League C in the Nations League and to the second tier of the next tournament.

The Greek national team had numerous chances to score, especially in the second half, enjoyed plenty of possession against a team that had arrived in Athens to maintain a clean sheet, but the lack of a decent goalscorer meant Greece remained without a goal for the third time in this six-game campaign.

The result meant that Greece has finished second in the group with three wins and three draws.

Greece started the game with Giorgos Giakoumakis as the lone striker up front, but coach John van ’t Schip replaced him at half time with Vangelis Pavlidis, in the hope of seeing some more action in the box.

Pressure increased in the Slovenian box as the game went on, with Tasos Bakasetas and Dimitris Kourbelis missing glorious chances in the second half, while Slovenia remained fairly harmless at the other end.

With six minutes left on the clock Pavlidis tried an impressive bicycle kick that met the crossbar, and as the Greeks kept turning the screw Christos Tzolis also came close on the 87th.

It therefore came out of the blue that Greece was left with 10 men on the 90th minute when Pantelis Hatzidiakos correctly got red-carded for stopping a rare Slovenian counterattack. In the end that mattered little, as Greece was unable to find a way through anyway.

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