OSLO, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Two goals by striker Sotirios Kyrgiakos earned Greece a 2-2 draw with Norway that kept them top of Group C in the Euro 2008 qualifiers on Wednesday.
The European champions led twice in the first half thanks to
Kyrgiakos, but Norway hit back both times with goals from
striker John Carew and defender John Arne Riise.
The draw left Greece on 19 points from eight matches, two
more than the second-placed Norway who have played a game more.
'If the European qualifying rounds were a 400 metres race,
we'd be close to the last turn, with maybe 120 metres
remaining,' Greece coach Otto Rehhagel told reporters.
'But if you run out of breath, the opponent can still catch
you. This is not over yet.'
Kyrgiakos opened the scoring from a sixth minute corner,
taking advantage of some poor marking by defender Brede
Hangeland to head past keeper Hakon Opdal and in off the post.
Carew matched that in similar style, beating his marker to
equalise with a header from a corner in the 15th minute.
Kyrgiakos restored Greece's lead in the 29th, following up
the loose ball after Opdal, who had previously kept three
consecutive clean sheets, had only parried a free kick.
Riise levelled for Norway 10 minutes later with a trademark
drive from 20 metres that keeper Konstantinos Chalkias got his
hands on but was unable to keep out.
The Greeks opted to defend for the second half and proved a
match for a series of Norwegian attacks.