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Record-breaker Ninis stars for Greece

Published: Monday 19 May 2008, 23.00CET
Greece 2-0 Cyprus
Teenager Sotiris Ninis enjoyed a dream debut as the European title-holders made it eight successive wins.
by Vassiliki Papantonopoulou
Record-breaker Ninis stars for Greece
Sotiris Ninis scored within five minutes of becoming an international footballer ©AFP
 
Published: Monday 19 May 2008, 23.00CET

Record-breaker Ninis stars for Greece

Greece 2-0 Cyprus
Teenager Sotiris Ninis enjoyed a dream debut as the European title-holders made it eight successive wins.

Greece 2-0 Cyprus
Panathinaikos FC winger Sotiris Ninis made a dream debut as Greece beat Cyprus in a UEFA EURO 2008™ warm-up.

Early impression
The 18-year-old, deployed by coach Otto Rehhagel behind the two strikers, became his country's youngest goalscorer within five minutes of making his first appearance. Konstantinos Katsouranis doubled the margin of victory after 59 minutes, converting a penalty in his home city of Patras.

Record-breaker
Ninis, with only four Greek Super League outings to his name this season – and just 18 in total – celebrated his first cap by scoring right-footed past Cyprus keeper Antonis Georgallides. The teenager's Panathinaikos team-mate Dimitrios Salpingidis provided the assist. With that strike, Ninis bettered by 244 days the 39-year record held by Konstantinos Eleftherakis – becoming Greece's most junior marksman some 46 days after his 18th birthday.

Eight in a row
An eighth successive win for the European title-holders was sealed, appropriately enough, by local boy Katsouranis at the Pampeloponnisiako Stadium. The SL Benfica midfielder slotted in after Georgios Karagounis had been fouled by Marios Elia. Theofanis Gekas missed opportunities of his own, while Georgallides made smart saves from Karagounis and Salpingidis. Katsouranis also headed against the crossbar in a one-sided encounter, the first of three warm-up friendlies for Greece.

Busy schedule
The Greeks, who topped their qualifying group in style, begin their UEFA EURO 2008™ campaign against Sweden on 10 June. Rehhagel is expected to name his 23-man finals squad this week. His team next face Hungary in Budapest on 24 May, before one last friendly against Armenia in Offenbach, Germany, on 1 June.

Greece: Chalkias, Vintra (Melissis 71), Dellas (Goumas 63), Papastathopoulos, Spyropoulos, Katsouranis, Giannakopoulos (Hristodoulopoulos 63), Karagounis (Makos 79), Ninis (Tziolis 46); Gekas, Salpingidis (Liberopoulos 46).

Cyprus: Georgallides (Avgousti 46), Okkarides (Lambrou 62), Garpozis, Christou, Elia, Michael, Makrides (Christofi 72), Halarambidis (Pavlou 46), Nikolaou, Konstantinou (Panagi 63), Giasoumi (Daskalakis 81).

 
Last updated: 21/05/08 12.52CET

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