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Greece too strong for gallant hosts

Published: Friday 6 July 2012, 18.09CET
Estonia 1-4 Greece
There was no way back for the Under-19 co-hosts after Giorgos Katidis put Greece ahead in their meeting in Tallinn.
by Paul Bryan
from Tallinn
Greece too strong for gallant hosts
Giorgos Katidis celebrates putting Greece in front in Tallinn ©Sportsfile
Published: Friday 6 July 2012, 18.09CET

Greece too strong for gallant hosts

Estonia 1-4 Greece
There was no way back for the Under-19 co-hosts after Giorgos Katidis put Greece ahead in their meeting in Tallinn.

Greece resurrected their hopes of reaching the semi-finals after Kostas Tsanas's side registered a 4-1 victory against hosts Estonia.

With both teams losing their opening fixtures, to Spain and Portugal respectively, the pressure was on in Tallinn. A goal each for Giorgos Katidis and Spyros Fourlanos plus a Dimitris Diamantakos double saw the Greeks earn maximum points, though Karl-Eerik Luigend at least scored Estonia's first goals of the finals.

The hosts took the initiative with a strong physical display in the early exchanges, with forwards Brent Lepistu and Martin Kase  - neither of whom started in Estonia's Group B opener -  impressing. Kase almost profited from his team-mate's inviting centre with a header that was blocked by Mavroudis Bougaidis, and Hannes Anier kept the hosts' forward momentum going with a strike from distance that flew wide.

Aware that another defeat would almost certainly put end their hopes of reaching the last four, Greece responded in the 27th minute when Dimitris Kourmpelis – returning from suspension – deflected Charis Mavrias's cross on to the upright. It was a warning of what was to follow for Estonia, and with Tsanas's players finally getting into their stride, they took the lead through Katidis, who dipped to head Kostas Stafylidis's centre to the far post past Vadim Gurnik.

Greece enjoyed a notable improvement in their second half performance in Tuesday's 2-1 loss to Spain and it was a similar case here in Tallinn with 2007's losing finalists doubling their lead with a wonderful goal, Fourlanos arcing a header into the top corner following Diamantakos's chipped cut-back.

Luigend eased the pressure on the home defence with a free-kick that Stefanos Kapino parried over but Greece were soon back in their stride and netted again when Diamantakos finished emphatically after being sent through by Tasos Bakasetas.

The locals then witnesed Estonia's first goal of these finals and it was Luigend who provided it with a shot across the Kapino, yet it was Greece who had the last word with Diamantakos prodding home his second. 

Last updated: 06/07/12 18.14CET

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