Greece made a winning start to UEFA European Under-19 Championship elite round Group 3, a 36th-minute own goal from Slovakia's Jakub Bartek ultimately proving decisive in Senec.
It might have been a different story had Jozef Dolný put Slovakia in front from the penalty spot in the second minute after Nikolaos Skondras' handball, but he was denied by Patrik Le Giang. Instead Leonidas Vokolos' side took a fifth-minute lead, Giannis Potouridis delivering a precise corner for Giorgos Katidis to head in at the near post.
Dolný did have a hand in Slovakia's equaliser 13 minutes later, his cross being met by a powerful header from Oliver Špilár. Although Stefanos Kapino kept that out with a brilliant save, the rebound fell kindly for Richard Lásik to tap into an empty net.
Greece regained the lead before the break, however, and this time it proved decisive. Katidis had already been denied by a fine save from Le Giang but the goalkeeper was beaten by Apostolos Vellios nine minutes before half-time. The ball came back off the post, yet in trying to clear Bartek could only turn the ball into his own net.
"We knew it was going to be a difficult game; Slovakia don't have individual stars but they play well as a team," said Greece coach Vokolos. "In the first minute, our goalkeeper had to save a penalty and that was probably the decisive point of the game. After that we made some positive changes. We have players who can make the difference. It's a great start for us and this win will help our confidence for the next two games."
Slovakia's Pavol Peráček added: "We're obviously not satisfied with the result, nor with our play. The penalty was the decisive moment.If we had scored the match would probably have gone a different way. Even after that we had it in our hands, but two fatal mistakes from our defenders led to two goals. We have two matches left and we want to win both of them. Belarus will be hard but France will be a really tough nut to crack."
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