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Friendlies: Surprising victory for Romania vs. Greece

Romania held their nerve to record an impressive 3-1 victory on Tuesday night against UEFA EURO 2012 qualifiers Greece in Austria, their first defeat in 18 matches, since the 2010 FIFA World Cup, according to uefa.com.

Victor Piturca’s side opened the scoring through Gabriel Torje on 17 minutes, before seeing their lead cancelled out by a 34th-minute Giorgos Karagounis strike. However, second-half goals from Cristian Tanase (61) and Alexandru Chipciu (80) helped Romania seize the initiative again and secure a deserved victory in Altach.

Fernando Santos, who made nine changes from the team which faced Russia on Friday, saw his unbeaten run in charge of Greece come to an end in an entertaining encounter. Romania enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and territory in the early stages and took the lead through Torje, who scored with a powerful right-footed shot from the edge of the area, giving Stefanos Kapino no chance.

Greece equalised 17 minutes later through a direct free-kick from their captain Karagounis, and briefly threatened to go on and win the contest. However, they seemed to lack the cutting edge in the final third and Romania retook the lead shortly after the break when Tanase struck with a spectacular left-footed volley following good work from Daniel Niculae.

Romania put the game beyond the reach of their opponents with ten minutes remaining; when a mistake in the Greek defence gifted the ball to substitute Chipciu, the FC Brasov man calmly finished with a right-footed shot to give his side a deserved 3-1 victory and end a run of four games without a win.

“It was a dry 3-1 after a very good game. The Greeks had almost no chance to score and the goal difference could have been higher in the second half. No game is similar to another; maybe we made fewer unforced errors. But we were better in the second half. One stands to learn from defeats and we’ve learned. I can’t tell you right now what we’ve gained, but I’m pleased with Neagu, Chipciu, Torje, Gaman, Papp and Stefan Radu”, Romanian head coach Victor Piturca stated for Mediafax.

Other results in friendlies on Tuesday:

Honduras – Serbia 2-0; Macedonia – Albania 0-0; Slovenia – USA 2-3; Ukraine – Austria 2-1; Denmark – Finland 2-1; Luxembourg – Switzerland 0-1; Poland – Hungary 2-1; Germany – The Netherlands  3-0; Italy – Uruguay 0-1; England – Sweden 1-0; France – Belgium 0-0; Costa Rica – Spain 2-2.

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