AGONA Analysis: How the Greeks performed against Estonia in Athens
The Greeks huffed and puffed at home to Estonia, but despite dominating the game, they conceded a disappointing 0:1 defeat in the concluding UEFA Nations League fixture. AGONAsport analyses the match.
27 shots, 15 corners, 0 goals. At times, Greece played with purpose and desire against relegated Estonia at the Olympic Stadium, but the team simply didn’t hold the tools required to discover gaps in the visitors’ watertight back line and slipped to third place of Group 2, League C in the Nations League.
It’s time to analyse how each individual player performed:
As expected, the AEK goalkeeper didn’t have much work to do, however he cannot be blamed for the Vasilis Lampropoulos own goal with the ball taking a nasty deflection. Almost gifted Estonia a second deep in stoppage time after charging out from his penalty area.
In the first half, AEK right-back Michalis Bakakis made clever, dangerous runs on the right flank, but his teammates never picked him out. Cutting a frustrated figure on the field, Bakakis was replaced at half-time by Vasilis Torosidis.
Unfortunately, the 28-year old was at fault for the winning Estonian goal, knocking the ball past the stranded Barkas under pressure from opposing forward Rauno Sappinen. On a more positive note, Lampropoulos prevented Estonia from scoring a second when sweeping a rolling shot clear with Barkas out of position.
Horribly exposed by Sergei Zenjov when the Estonian sent a cross into the box for their goal. Throughout the match, the Arsenal centre-back was a danger when Greece had corners (15 in total), often causing problems for the opponents and firing a low drive into the goalkeeper’s grasp.
The Atromitos player was a solid performer for Greece. In the dying moments, Dimitris Giannoulis provided a perfect cross for Nikos Karelis, however the latter’s spectacular overhead kick was stopped by Estonia’s alert Sergei Lepmets. Competed with plenty of endeavour.
Representing his country for the first time since March, the out of favour Benfica midfielder displayed some nice touches, showing his skill and trying to make things happen. However, while he tried hard, there was a lack of end product to his passing. Overall, Samaris gave a decent account of himself and is in serious need of a confidence boost.
In comparison to the previous game with Finland, Portugal born Zeca gave an improved performance, playing with more intensity in his game. As the game progressed, Zeca naturally pushed further forward, but the Estonian defence prevented him from breaking the stubborn visitors down.
The Olympiacos representative is used to protecting the defence, but in this match, Angelos Anastasiadis opted to play him closer to the attack and it’s a move which didn’t pay off. While Bouchalakis can’t be accused of playing poorly, he did not make his mark on proceedings and was hauled off after 71 minutes.
On his senior national team debut, Masouras added energy to the Greek game, buzzing around and driving at the opponents when in possession. The Panionios midfielder even came close to a goal on his maiden appearance for the Ethniki Omada, but his effort was turned around the left post. Faded in the second half and was substituted in favour of Konstantinos Fortounis.
The 25-year old forward always splits opinion. Many think Bakasetas simply isn’t good enough to play with the national team, but he almost scored twice in this game, squeezing a curling attempt inches wide of the right corner in the first half and later heading off target at point blank range.
Efthymis Koulouris’ switch to the under 21 Greek national team handed the struggling PAOK forward a chance to prove his worth. In the last few minutes, Karelis’ stunning scissor kick looked destined for the back of the net, but the goalkeeper tipped it over the bar with an acrobatic stop. Karelis rarely had a clear sight of the Estonian goal and was kept under wraps by the defence.
Emerging as a substitute for the second half, veteran Olympiacos right-back Torosidis promptly picked out the lurking Bakasetas with a pinpoint cross, however the ensuing header drifted to safety. Found space on the wing and volleyed a shot wide when a corner fell at his feet.
The on-form playmaker made a difference after his introduction. Fortounis offered more direction in the attacking third, and on 62 minutes, he smacked the left post with a fantastic free-kick which left the goalkeeper frozen to the spot.
After substituting Andreas Bouchalakis with 19 minutes left on the clock, AEK captain Petros Mantalos couldn’t settle into proceedings and was largely ineffective. The 27-year old hasn’t been in great form for the reigning Greek champions at club level.