Greece and Italy finish of international year with a draw
Greece and visiting Italy Wednesday settled for a 1-1 draw in Athens that gave world champion coach Marcello Lippi a
record of 31 unbeaten games at the helm of the Azzurri, dpa reported.
Fanis Gekas put the home side in front on 50 minutes but Italy equalized just four minutes later through Bayern Munich striker Luca Toni, whose 16th goal for his country ended a barren period that lasted almost 700 minutes.
The draw sees Lippi, who returned to the helm at Italy last summer after winning the 2006 World Cup and following the removal of Roberto Donadoni, improve by one game an earlier record set by Vittorio Pozzo, a winner of two World Cups in the 1930s.
Giuseppe Rossi played for the first time from the start with Italy, but missed a good close-range chance when on nine minutes he came face to face with Alexandros Tzorvas.
The young striker curled a harmless free kick as Italy slightly prevailed on ball possession against a Greek side who had a first chance on 25 minutes when Kostas Katsouranis nodded wide.
There were no other concerns in the first half for De Sanctis, who was keeping goal as both Gianluigi Buffon and Marco Amelia were injured.
Italy's flag-bearing forward Toni had few opportunities to prove his worth early on and on 32 minutes fired a feeble wide shot before the hosts complained about a handball by Gennaro Gattuso that the referee considered to be involuntary.
Toni had an angled shot deflected by Tsorvas's boot right after the break and substitute Simone Pepe also saw his low effort saved on 47 minutes off a Rossi feed.
Italy paid for their profligacy when Fanis Gekas on 50 minutes split the Azzurri's defence and beat De Sanctis with a searing shot he fired a few metres inside the box.
Italy equalized promptly on 54 minutes through a Toni header off a free kick curled by Daniele De Rossi.
A second fast drive from Camoranesi on 58 minutes found Tzorvas ready for a difficult deflection that was the game's last thrill as both sides brought on plenty of substitutes and seemed satisfied with a draw.