Costas Mitroglou was the hero once again as Greece produced a much-needed 1-0 win over Hungary in its first ever home game in the Nations League at the Olympic Stadium of Athens on Friday night.
In front of some 8,000 Greek fans and about 300 noisy Hungarians, the Greek team was particularly error-prone in the first half, suffering under the pressure the visitors put on them.
The Greeks were unable to pass the ball, let alone try any shots, while they attempted to correct their mistakes in the midfield and defense with some hard tackling, that got three out of their four defenders booked from the first 27 minutes.
Yet after the 35th minute Hungary started growing tired from running all across the field to chase the Greeks, and the hosts gained some ground, a trend that became more obvious after the half-time break with the substitution of Dimitris Kourbelis with Alexandros Tziolis.
The deadlock was broken five minutes past the hour mark, when a pinpoint cross from the left by debutant Costas Tsimikas found Mitroglou at the heart of the Hungarian area and he headed the ball home in typical style. In this rare Greek chance, Mitroglou showed his quality that usually makes the difference for this Greece team.
Greece now lies second in the group with six points from three games, avenging its 2-1 loss in Hungary last month.
Friday’s win is giving some more leeway to widely criticized manager Michael Skibbe, with the next Nations League match being as early as this Monday against Finland at Tampere.