Greece recover to hold Russia in Piraeus

Greece 1-1 Russia The home side recovered from conceding an early Roman Shirokov goal, Kostas Katsouranis coming to their rescue with a headed finish.

Greece's Vassilis Torossidis (left) shields the ball from Roman Shirokov of Russia during their 1-1 draw
Greece's Vassilis Torossidis (left) shields the ball from Roman Shirokov of Russia during their 1-1 draw ©Getty Images

UEFA EURO 2012 finalists Greece and Russia shared the spoils in Piraeus, with Kostas Katsouranis equalising after Roman Shirokov had given the visitors an early lead.

FC Zenit St Petersburg midfielder Shirokov was on the scoresheet within two minutes of kick-off, with his effort taking a crucial deflection off his marker, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, to beat Alexandros Tzorvas in the Greek goal. However, Fernando Santos's men pegged their guests back, with Katsouranis's header bringing a good team move to a positive conclusion on the hour.

Left reeling by that early goal, Greece might have conceded a second, but Andrey Arshavin fired just wide, and Dimitris Salpingidis found the target similarly elusive at the other end with the home side's best chance of the first half. The pace increased after the break, and Aleksei Berezutski needed to be on his toes to intercept a Salpingidis cross with Fanis Gekas lurking.

Russia's substitute goalkeeper Anton Shunin made a decent save to deny Giorgios Samaras, and Tzorvas won out when debutant Aleksandr Kokorin went through on the other goal before Greece got their equaliser. Salpingidis, Katsouranis and Alexandros Tziolis were all involved in the build-up with Gekas crossing for Katsouranis to nod into the net.

Greece might have done even better; Gekas headed against the post on 71 minutes, and Nikos Liberopoulos sent a spectacular volley just over in the dying minutes.

Greece: Tzorvas, Torossidis, Holebas, Papadopoulos, Papastathopoulos, Katsouranis (Makos 88), Fotakis (Liberopoulos 80), Karagounis (Tziolis 56), Salpingidis (Kone 68), Gekas (Mitroglou 77), Samaras (Charisteas 56).

Russia: Malafeev (Shunin 46), Anyukov, V. Berezutski (A. Berezutski 46), Ignashevich, Zhirkov (Shishkin 67), Zyryanov (Glushakov 79), Denisov, Shirokov (Bilyaletdinov 84), Dzyuba (Kokorin 46), Arshavin, Dzagoev.