Greece defeats Czech Republic 1-0 in friendly

A second-half goal by striker Dimitris Salpigidis gave Greece a 1-0 win over the Czech Republic in a soccer friendly played in Cyprus last night. Greece coach Otto Rehhagel, preparing his team for the Euro 2008 finals this coming summer, took the opportunity to field six newcomers, five of whom are former Under-21 internationals. Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Avraam Papadopoulos, Grigoris Makos, Christos Melissis and Lazaros Christodoulopoulos all made their senior-level debuts with Greece along with Nikos Spyropoulos. Rehhagel and his Czech counterpart Karel Bruckner, who did not join his team in Cyprus after being struck by pneumonia, had mutually agreed in advance to field a number of young faces in last night’s senior-level friendly. Salpigidis scored Greece’s winning goal in the 79th minute with a shot from the right that deflected over the goalkeeper and into the net. Though few scoring opportunities were created by either side, the game was fluent with both teams enjoying good spells of ball possession. Rehhagel is expected to make more lineup changes in Greece’s next friendly game today against Finland.