SPORTS

Lackluster Greece gets 0-0 in Bosnia

Greece maintained its unbeaten record under coach Fernando Santos, but its friendly 0-0 draw at Bosnia on August 10 came after a lackluster performance that does not bode well ahead of the crucial game in Israel next month.

Bosnia was by far the better side in Sarajevo and dominated most of the 90 minutes as Greece played a defensive game with the odd counterattack by lone striker Giorgos Samaras.

The Celtic forward wasted Greece?s two biggest chances, one in each half, as he lacked the edge required to finish such goal-scoring opportunities.

Santos, who on August 11 will have completed one year at the helm of the national squad, had fielded the team with his favorite 4-3-3 formation, with Sotiris Ninis and Yiannis Fetfatzidis on the wings.

Ninis had a good game and stayed on up to the 72nd minute, providing Samaras with the through ball in the 27th minute that could have set up a goal for Greece. Fetfatzidis was substituted at halftime, but his replacement, Nikos Liberopoulos, did not fare any better, missing a good chance in injury time.

Greece?s best player by some distance was goalkeeper Michalis Sifakis. The Aris stopper denied the hosts twice in the first half with spectacular saves and was also efficient in the second when the Bosnians called him to task.

?We are focusing on the two games that are coming up against Israel and Latvia. We wanted victory, but we must understand that when victory does not come, we should avoid defeat. Defeats do not do the players’ confidence any good,? said Greece’s Portuguese coach.

?At any rate, we can take from this game the attitude of the players, their effort and desire. They worked a lot, they tried hard and were well organized in the game. What we liked the least was that we missed good passing of the ball, which is only corrected through training, but we did have some good spells.?

Santos also gave a Greece debut to Costas Zaradoukas and Thanasis Petsos, who came on as second-half substitutes.