Greece defeats Romania 3-2

With goals from Demis Nikolaidis, Stelios Yiannacopoulos and Pandelis Constantinidis Greece beat Romania 3-2 in a friendly game at Alexandroupolis yesterday. Both countries failed to reach this summer’s World Cup and are preparing for the qualifying rounds of the 2004 European Championships. Greece plays Cyprus Wednesday in another friendly. Romania fielded its Olympic team to try out young players in the national squad. More than 6,000 spectators at the municipal stadium of this northeastern port city saw the home team take the lead in the 19th minute. A powerful left-footed drive by Nikolaidis from outside the area took keeper Ionut Irimia by surprise. The Romanians leveled with George Ogararu off a free kick from Ioan Munteanu in the 56th. But two minutes later, the hosts regained the lead with Yiannacopoulos after a protracted skirmish in front of the Romanian goalmouth. Second-half substitute Pandelis Constantinidis increased the score to 3-1 in the 72nd minute and Florin Bratu made the final 3-2 in the 74th off a cross from Munteanu. (AP)