Panayiotis Kone put Greece out of its Euro 2016 qualifiers misery scoring the winning goal in the 4-3 victory of the hosts at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium over Hungary on Sunday, the first and only win for Greece in this otherwise disgraceful campaign for the Euro 2004 champions.
The gripping game at the Piraeus stadium put an end to the 23-month-long period since Greece last scored in a home game. In fact this was the first time ever Greece has scored four goals at home in a European Championship qualifier.
Despite the seven goals scored, there were plenty more chances for goals on both ends that went to waste in a free-flowing game where defending was the big loser. The national team once again showed some inexcusable gaps in its defense, but managed to come from behind twice to win a game at last. Notably Greece scored four goals from four efforts on target!
Costas Stafylidis opened the score for Greece just five minutes into the game from a cross by Stelios Kitsiou, but Hungary equalized as a Leandro cross was nodded in by Gergo Lovrencsics on the 26th.
The Hungarians took the lead for the first time 10 minutes into the second half through former AEK and Olympiakos player Krisztian Nemeth as the Greek defense paralyzed during a corner kick by Balazs Dzsudzsak.
The 6,000 Greece fans thought they would see yet another Greek tragedy unfold in front of their eyes, but this time the combative spirit of the national team players made the difference.
Just two minutes later Panayiotis Tachtsidis – Greece best player in the game – turned in a clever pass by Petros Mantalos, and when Nemeth took advantage of yet another gap in the Greek defense to give Hungary a 3-2 lead, the Greek responded once more via Costas Mitroglou after a Tachtsidis assist.
And then with less than five minutes to go, Jose Holebas served a pinpoint cross from the right to Kone and he tossed the back of the net with his header for Greece’s winner, that was celebrated wildly by the relieved Greek players.
Despite the win, Greece finished last in its group with just six points from 10 games,