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Sport - Olympic Games Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Mali upsets Greece

THESSALONIKI (GREECE), AUG. 15. Mali upset Greece 2-0 on Saturday to put the host in real danger of going out of the Olympic soccer tournament in the first round.

First half goals by Mamadi Berthe and Tenema Ndiaye put the Africans well in control of the game at the Kaftanzoglio Stadium although the host, hoping to add to its senior team's Euro 2004 triumph, had squandered chances to get back in the game and even missed an injury time penalty.

The result gave Mali, which ousted 2000 gold medallist Cameroon during the African qualifying round, four points from two games. Greece has one from two and must beat Mexico in its final game to stand any chance of advancing.

Berthe gave Mali an early lead when Jimmy Kebe went on a weaving run down the right to pull the ball into the centre and the supporting midfielder turned it home with a first-time shot from 16 metres.

The host went close to levelling in the 36th minute when Dimitrios Papadopoulos made a break through the middle to take a through ball. Under pressure from a challenge from behind by Moussa Coulibaly, the lone squad member from Euro 2004 was unable to beat goalkeeper Cheick Bathily who raced off his line to block his shot.

A minute later, Spyridon Vallas climbed above the Mali defence to reach a corner but headed wide of the far post.

The misses looked costly when Mali scored a second a minute before half time. Momo Sissoko went on a clever dribble down the left and prodded the ball across with a perfectly weighted and directed pass that found Ndiaye in front of goal to stab it home from six metres.

It should have been 3-0 in first half injury time but Dramane Traore shot wide with just goalkeeper Georgios Amparis to beat after the Mali forwards had carved open the Greek defence.

Greece still had chances to it back but Papadopoulos saw an angled shot pushed round the post by Bathily. — AP

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