Greece, Russia draw 1-1 in friendly
Costas Katsouranis scored in the 60th minute to salvage a 1-1 draw for Greece against Russia in a friendly on Friday.
Roman Shirokov had given Russia the lead in the second minute, but Katsouranis made sure that Greece’s Portuguese coach Fernando Santos remained undefeated in his tenure and stretched the team’s unbeaten streak to a team-record 17 games.
Greece and Russia have both secured a spot at next year’s European Championship by winning their qualifying groups. They used the game to start their preparations for the tournament, to be played in Poland and Ukraine.
Russia took the lead in its first serious attack when Alan Dzagoev sent a through ball to Shirokov whose shot was deflected by defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos into the net.
The Russians could have made it 2-0 in the 11th, when another through ball found Andrei Arshavin alone with goalkeeper Alexandros Tzorvas, but the Arsenal midfielder sent the ball high over the crossbar.
In the 17th, Celtic forward Georgios Samaras had a goal disallowed for a foul on a Russian defender.
Arshavin had another good scoring chance in the 31st, but his header from a cross by Igor Denisov went just wide of the left post.
The Greeks had two goals disallowed for offside in the closing minutes of the first half.
After failing to equalize in the 55th, when Anton Shunin made a diving save to Samaras’ shot, Greece scored five minutes later after a swift exchange of passes in the Russian area ended with Karagounis heading in Alexandros Tziolis’ cross. The scorer was slightly offside, but the goal counted.
Greece missed its best chance to take the lead in the 71st, when Shunin diverted Fanis Gekas’ header into the post and the ball span back into Shunin’s arms.
In the 89th, Nikos Lyberopoulos volleyed the ball over the bar and, a minute later, Roman Shishkin’s free kick also went just over.
Greece: Alexandros Tzorvas, Avraam Papadopoulos, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Vassilis Torossidis, Jose Holebas, Giorgos Karagounis (Alexandros Tziolis, 56), Costas Katsouranis (Grigoris Makos, 88), Giorgos Fotakis (Nikos Lyberopoulos, 80), Dimitris Salpingidis (Panayiotis Kone, 68), Georgios Samaras (Angelos Charisteas, 56), Fanis Gekas (Costas Mitroglou, 77).
Russia: Vyacheslav Malafeev (Anton Shunin, 46), Aleksandr Anyukov, Vasili Berezutski (Aleksei Berezutski, 46) Sergei Ignashevich, Yuri Zhirkov (Roman Shishkin, 67), Igor Denisov, Roman Shirokov (Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, 84), Konstantin Zyryanov (Denis Glushakov, 79), Andrei Arshavin, Alan Dzagoev, Artem Dzyuba (Aleksandr Kokorin, 46)