Greece ended their successful UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying campaign on a winning note after coming from a goal down to grind out a victory against Hungary in Budapest.
Otto Rehhagel's men were fortunate to go in at half-time on level terms having fallen behind to Ákos Buzsáky's early deflected opener. Home defender Vilmos Vanczák threw the visitors a lifeline midway through the first half when he headed past his own goalkeeper before captain Angelos Basinas scored a penalty a minute before the hour to complete a determined comeback from the European champions.
Hungary were certainly quicker out of the blocks: Tamás Priskin breaking clear after a mistake by Greece full-back Christos Patsatzoglou, only to be denied by goalkeeper Konstantinos Chalkias's fine block. Six minutes later, the home pressure yielded the lead as Buzsáky went on a mazy run before firing in a shot which deflected off Konstantinos Katsouranis and over Chalkias.
Greece levelled on 22 minutes with their first real attack of the match. Katsouranis's right-wing cross was flicked across goal by Alexandros Tziolis and headed into his own net by Vanczák. The title-holders, so convincing in their 5-0 weekend demolition of Malta, were reduced to long-range efforts from Basinas while Peter Várhidi's team continued to carve out decent opportunities. Péter Halmosi should have converted Buzsáky's 31st-minute centre, before Dániel Tőzsér was denied from 20 metres by Chalkias.
Paying the penalty
Relief for Rehhagel came when Greece won a penalty following Hungary keeper Márton Fülöp's foul on Theofanis Gekas – Basinas stepping up confidently to put his side ahead. Vanczák should have equalised on 71 minutes when he sent a free header straight at substitute keeper Antonios Nikopolidis. It was to prove the last chance for Hungary who finished the campaign second-bottom of Group C.