Midfielder Giannis Maniatis scored a spectacular long-range goal as Greece beat Australia for the time in 38 years in Melbourne yesterday.
Greece won 2-1, with Olympiakos midfielder Maniatis netting a stunning goal over the head of stranded Australia goalkeeper Adam Federici in the first half.
Greece took the game to the Socceroos from the kickoff and found the net after just eight minutes against a sluggish home defense.
Mark Milligan was dispossessed deep inside Greece’s attacking half and SL Benfica’s Andreas Samaris gave AEK midfielder Petros Mantalos space on the right.
Mantalos beat Federici into the bottom left corner for his first international goal.
However, it was Maniatis who left Federici red-faced when he spotted the home goalkeeper well off his line. His lob from well inside his own half bounced into the net for a stunning goal and a 2-0 lead after 21 minutes.
The Socceroos went in at halftime two goals down, their worst half since Ange Postecoglou took over as coach.
Greece were a far different proposition than during their tentative 1-0 loss to Australia in Sydney on Saturday.
Defender Trent Sainsbury pulled a goal back for the Socceroos 13 minutes after the resumption when skipper Tim Cahill headed on Aaron Mooy’s corner and Sainsbury headed home from close range.
However, Greece could not be denied their first win over Australia since a 1-0 victory in Adelaide in 1978.
It was Australia’s first home defeat since losing to Kuwait in 2009.
“They got a jump on us and we didn’t react well particularly in the first half, we got sucked into playing their game a little bit,” Postecoglou said. “We became frustrated, we gave away silly fouls and diving in and we lost our composure. From there we were chasing the game. It was always going to be difficult to get back into it. Yeah, it was disappointing.”
It was Australia’s final match before their opening Asian World Cup qualifying game against Iraq at home on Sept. 1.
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