SOCCER

Out of the blue, Greece snatches point in Spain on its national holiday

Tasos Bakasetas penalty kick gives Greek fans extra reason to be happy on March 25

out-of-the-blue-greece-snatches-point-in-spain-on-its-national-holiday

Greece shocked Spain with a 1-1 result at Granada on Thursday, as despite the hosts’ complete domination of this opening match for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, the Greeks managed to escape defeat thanks to a second-half penalty.

Spain’s typical “tiki-taka” game had the hosts enjoy 80% of possession in the first half, mostly passing the ball around as the Greek team waited in defense.

After a fairly quiet first half-hour, the Spaniards hit the crossbar with a powerful shot by Dani Olmo, and seconds later a clever arching ball by Koke found Alvaro Morata at the back of the Greek defense for the Juventus striker to open the score on the 33rd minute.

The Greeks were completely inexistent in attack throughout the first 55 minutes of the game, reduced to watching their opponents play a slow game of possession.

Then out of the blue the Greeks came forward, Iñigo Martinez stretched his leg inside the box to meet Giorgos Massouras’ knee and conceded an unlikely penalty that Tasos Bakasetas converted masterfully 11 minutes into the second half.

Some substitutions Greece manager John van ’t Schip made in the second half, with the introduction of Manolis Siopis, Kostas Fortounis and even Giorgos Giakoumakis, improved Greece’s presence in the opposite half, but without really creating any chances for the visitors.

The hosts put some pressure, missed a great chance on the 75th minute with Jose Gaya and Mikel Oyarzabal, but did not really threaten Greece with the strength they had shown when they trounced Germany 6-0 last November.

Next in the qualifiers Greece will host Georgia on March 31, three days after a friendly at home against Honduras.