The Socceroos succumbed to an improved Greek side 2-1 last night after a 60-metre kick by midfielder Giannis Maniatis left keeper Adam Federici stranded.
A jittery Australian side was rocked early after slick passing by the Greek midfield left right-winger Petros Mantalos clear to score from inside the box after just eight minutes of play.
The Australians failed to get out of second gear all evening despite having their usual forward starting line-up, Tim Cahill, Robbie Kruse and Mathew Leckie, in place. Midfielder Massimo Luongo’s absence was clearly a problem.
Greece extended its lead when Maniatis spotted Federici far from his line and lobbed the ball from inside his half to double the lead.
After missing multiple opportunities the Socceroos finally scored in the 58th minute when defender Trent Sainsbury headed in a rebound from teammate Mark Milligan’s header to score his second international goal.
That was the end of Australia’s challenge and Greece ran home winners of the two-game friendly series.
Australia will now continue preparations for the next World Cup Qualifying round in early September, when they will meet Iraq. – Patrick Staveley
Photo from Caltex Socceroos Twitter feed