Greece loses away to Poland

Defender Michalis Kapsis scored an own goal in the 16th minute Saturday as Poland topped Greece 1-0 in an international friendly. The ball went into the net after Kapsis and Greece goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis could not decide who should stop a shot by Poland striker Jacek Krzynowek. The ball whizzed between the pair, touching Kapsis’s legs before going into the net. Greece, which upset Spain to win its European Championship qualifying group and go directly to the finals, lost its second straight match after winning 15 straight. The Greeks face host Portugal, Spain and Russia in Group A of the Euro 2004 finals later this month. Greece had a chance to equalize moments after the mishap, but Vassilis Lakis’s shot was blocked by defenders in the 19th. Poland looked the better team for long periods, but the Greeks pulled together in the second half, repeatedly testing Poland’s keeper Artur Boruc, who came in for Jerzy Dudek. In the 80th minute, Boruc easily cleared a 15-meter volley from Pantelis Kaffes, and three minutes later Giorgos Georgiadis just missed. Striker Demis Nikolaidis did not play because of injury, and strikers Zyssis Vryzas and Angelos Haristeas were left home because of club commitments. Back in Greece, Cretan club Ergotelis surprised favorites Akratitos 1-0 Sunday to win a playoff match to decide which team will compete in the first division next season. A goal by Papua New Guinea’s 25-year-old midfielder Jean Mary Sylla in the first minute of injury time at a neutral venue in Thessaloniki enabled Ergotelis to join the top flight for the first time in its history. (AP, AFP)