Greece get going with victory over Ukraine

Greece 2-0 Ukraine Xanthi FC playmaker Petros Orfanidis scored the first goal of U19 EURO as hosts Greece opened with a victory against Ukraine in Group A.

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• Petros Orfanidis scores first-half opener, the first goal of U19 EURO
• Zisis Karachalios doubles advantage for hosts Greece
• Goalkeeper Konstantinos Kotsaris denies Ukraine on five occasions
• Next Group A games: Ukraine v France, Greece v Austria (9 July)

Petros Orfanidis struck the first goal of the 2015 UEFA European Under-19 Championship and Zisis Karachalios followed up with the second as hosts Greece opened with a 2-0 win against Ukraine in Group A.

In Greece's first finals game since losing to Spain in 2012 decider, Giannis Goumas's charges struck early in Veria as Xanthi FC playmaker Orfanidis found a way past goalkeeper Vadym Soldatenko. Despite sustained pressure from Ukraine, Greece doubled their advantage through Karachalios 14 minutes from time to seal the victory.

Olexandr Holovko's Ukraine side, winners in 2009, created a number of openings but found Greece custodian Konstantinos Kotsaris in fine form. Ukraine had had the better of the opening exchanges, Artem Besedin and Andriy Boryachuk both shooting just wide inside the first 15 minutes and Viktor Kovalenko mistiming his shot from Besedin's left-wing cross.

It was therefore against the run of play when the finals hosts took the lead, Orfanidis lobbing in after collecting an Efthymis Koulouris pass and turning smartly.

Ukraine, however, continued to create chances, Valeriy Luchkevych slipping with just Kotsaris to beat before the goalkeeper made a superlative stop to deny Kovalenko after Besedin's shot had been blocked.

Viktor Tsygankov then fired narrowly over from distance as Greece's defence continued to frustrate their opponents before breaking out to clinical effect. Scorer turned provide as Orfanidis instigated an attack and crossed for Karachalios to wrong-foot Soldanenko.

There was still time for Kovalenko to shoot just wide – summing up Ukraine's night as Greek celebrations started in earnest.

Reaction

Giannis Goumas, Greece coach
Ukraine were much better in the first half, had possession and wasted many chances to score. But we were lucky to score with our first real chance and lead at half-time. In the second half we changed our tactics, introducing a five-men defence and deprived our rivals of the spaces they needed to attack. We kept our lines close and applied a counterattacking game that led us to the second goal that eventually sealed victory for us.

Olexandr Holovko, Ukraine coach
We were better than Greece in the first half but didn't get the goal. Our guys did excellent work. They did everything we had planned, applied our tactics perfectly, but their finishing was lacking. They made just two mistakes in defence, handed Greece with two attempts to score and were punished.  

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