SOCCER

Wasteful Greece concedes home draw to Kosovo

wasteful-greece-concedes-home-draw-to-kosovo

Greece ended its failed 2022 World Cup qualification campaign with a home draw against Kosovo on Sunday night.

The 1-1 result at the Olympic Stadium of Athens has taken Greece’s tally to 10 points from eight games, leaving it third at the table behind Spain and Sweden. In the last pair of matches it had to collect six points to qualify, and it got just one.

Against Kosovo Greece enjoyed more possession and chances, but it was so wasteful it could have even lost the match in the end.

Greece served an early warning with an Andreas Bouchalakis shot that hit the crossbar after 10 minutes. After several chances missed in the rest of the first half, Dimitris Pelkas crossed the ball from the right to find Giorgos Massouras, and he headed it in one minute before half-time.

The Greeks kept pushing in the second half, missing more chances as they appeared under less pressure. However Kosovo punished them for their misses with Edon Zhegrova crossing into the the six-yard box, for Amir Rrahmani to tap the ball home and equalize with 15 minutes left.

Countless sharp crosses into the Kosovo box went begging as the Greeks could not find the winning goal. In the last few minutes they threw caution to the wind and could have easily conceded a second.

The disheartening picture of the empty stands at the Olympic Stadium served to show the huge task the federation has to rebuild the national team ahead of Euro 2024, given also its slipping down the FIFA ranking.