Greek Legends 2004 fight back to defeat Spain in charity match
|Greece Euro 2004 Legends||5 - 3||Spain Legends|
Greece’s Euro 2004-winning squad rolled back the years on Saturday night against their Spanish counterparts, coming from 3-1 down to win 5-3 at the Pampeloponissiako Stadium in Patras.
Former Bolton star Stelios Giannakopoulos notched a hat-trick for Otto Rehhagel’s Greek 2004 Legends team, with further goals from Giorgos Karagounis and Kostas Katsouranis completing a superb win.
Spain’s 2004 Legends had controlled the first half, going in at the break 2-0 to the good thanks to goals from Carasco and Alfonso. But a Albert Luque strike was all the Spaniards could muster in a second half dominated by the Greeks, who showed a hungry appetite to get the win for the home fans.
It was another magical night for the heroes of 2004, who reminded the public of the famous team spirit and determination that helped them to one of world football’s greatest shocks in that balmy Portuguese summer 14 years ago.
After Spain’s dominance in the first half, Greece needed a special second half display and they produced it.
Katsouranis, who looked among the fittest of the Greek players, showed a great turn of pace to latch on to a Karagounis through ball just after half-time, but the former AEK, Benfica and Panathinaikos ace was denied by the Spanish keeper who produced a spwaling low save.
After 54 minutes Greece finally pulled a goal back and it was Karagounis who was on target, drilling a superb volley home from a Pantelis Kafes cross.
Luque then responded for Spain to make it 3-1, but from then on it was all Greece.
Giannakopoulos scored the first of his three on the night in the 71st minute from the rebound after Angelos Basinas’ penalty came back off the post, and the former Olympiacos man made it 3-3 eight minutes later when he clipped home after Katsouranis’ overhead kick attempt was foiled by the Spanish goalkeeper.
Katsouranis put Greece ahead for first time in the match with a salmon-like leap for a diving header with eight minutes left, and with Spain now looking ragged, Giannakopoulos completed his hat-trick three minutes later by slamming home from Dimitris Papadopoulos’ low cross.