Gianniotas loses a tooth in shameful post-match scuffles
Greece forward Yannis Gianniotas had a tooth knocked out by one of Bosnia Herzegovina’s assistant coaches as tempers flared following the end of Friday’s goalless World Cup qualifying draw between the two teams in Zenica.
An otherwise positive night on which Michael Skibbe’s gallant Greek side secured a vital point against their Group H rivals after a closely-contested clash was soured by the ugly violence which took place after the final whistle.
Several players were involved in unsavory scuffles as the teams made their way to the tunnel after the final whistle following a heated exchange between Roma teammates Kostas Manolas and Edin Dzeko.
Dzeko appeared to lose his cool and grab Manolas by the throat, with officials moving in to separate them. Video replays showed all hell breaking loose with a Bosnian coach punching Gianniotas in the face.
Manolas, who was agitated by the disgraceful jeering of Greece’s national anthem before the kick-off, said afterwards: “These kinds of things should not happen, it is something which brings great shame on the game and does not represent the football spirit.”
Greece captain Vasilis Torosidis added: “It was a disgraceful end to what was an exciting and competitive game. This kind of thing has no place in football and I hope UEFA review the videos and take some action to punish the Bosnians.”
He added: “The same player [Dzeko] had a similarly aggressive attitude when we played against them in Athens. He was causing trouble on and off the pitch and you simply can’t conduct yourself that way as a professional.”
It remains to be seen what action FIFA or UEFA will take against Bosnia, but on the video evidence, which clearly shows one of their officials attacking Gianniotis first with a kick and then the punch which did the damage knocking out a tooth, they may be in for a heavy fine.
The 0-0 result means Greece hang on to second place with 12 points, while Bosnia are right behind them in third place with 11 points. Leaders Belgium extended their lead over Greece to four points after a 2-0 win over Estonia on Friday saw them move onto 16 points.
Greece are firm favorites to claim second spot, however, as they will play three of their four remaining fixtures at home, the first of which is against Estonia on August 31.