GREECE 2-0 CYPRUS
Scorers: Ninis 5, Katsouranis 58
A makeshift Greece squad – missing 11 key players – managed to brush aside Cyprus 2-0 in this Euro 2008 build-up match.
18-year-old Panathinaikos starlet Sotiris Ninis scored within five minutes of making his international debut, beating Cyprus goalkeeper Antonis Georgallidis with a low shot from inside the area. Ninis becomes the youngest player to score for Greece. ‘It’s a wonderful feeling,’ said Ninis.
Benfica’s Kostas Katsouranis scored a penalty in the 58th minute, to give the dominant Greeks a 2-0 win.
The game was interrupted shortly before the end when part of the 23,500-strong sell-out crowd ran onto the pitch in the mistaken belief that they had heard the final whistle.
The match had been preceded by the unusual sight of a float in the shape of Greece’s German coach Otto Rehhagel being driven around the pitch to cheers and shouts of ‘good luck’.
Rehhagel has named his squad for Saturday’s match with Hungary, and the big news is that teenage scorer Sotiris Ninis is dropped – and with so many key players returning to the fold he is unlikely to return to the squad for Euro 2008. Rehhagel will announce his Euro 2008 squad immediately after the Hungary match, with the team leaving for a pre-tournament training camp in Germany on Sunday.
Hungary were UFWC champions until September of last year. However, an attempt to take the title from Greece in November ended in a 2-1 defeat.