Fetfatzidis earns Greece friendly win

Greece maintained its unbeaten record under coach Fernando Santos, beating Canada 1-0 at Larissa in a friendly match on February 9 thanks to a Yiannis Fetfatzidis strike.

The Greece manager who was deprived of injured Avraam Papadopoulos, Alexandros Tziolis and Giorgos Samaras, fielded a strong side that did little in the first half but was more effective in the second against a mediocre opponent.

Canada was the better team in the first 45 minutes as Greece could not translate its ball possession into chances, while the visitors were more effective in their counterattacks.

Greece’s best chance in the first half came from a right-foot shot by Dimitris Salpigidis in the 44th minute.

Canada did pose some threat but did not really trouble Greece keeper Michalis Sifakis except for a Josh Simpson shot at the 32nd minute.

At the start of the second half, Santos introduced Panionios striker Costas Mitroglou, who missed a good chance after two minutes on the pitch and had a goal disallowed as offside five minutes later.

He then failed to beat Canada keeper Milan Borjan in the 56th following a great through ball by Nikos Liberopoulos. Unfortunately Mitroglou was later injured and had to be substituted.

Borjan again rose to the challenge in the 59th by fisting away a great Giorgos Tzavellas shot from outside the box.

It was only a matter of time before Greece scored, and the time came in the 63rd minute when Fetfatzidis took advantage of a poor clearance by the Canadian defense to power home a left-footer. This was the Olympiakos player’s maiden goal with the national team.

Canada threatened the goal of substitute keeper Costas Halkias at the 75th minute with a Dwayne De Rosario free kick, but the PAOK goalie pushed the ball over the bar.

In a very emotional moment before kickoff, the Hellenic Football Federation honored former Greece manager Otto Rehhagel for his nine glorious years on the national team’s bench.

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