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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 14 March 2015
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 14 MARCH 2015 31 SPORT PAOK braces for Asteras battle One tough match after the other ... will PAOK be able to brush itself off and gain a competitive advantage against Asteras? The fixtures haven't been kind to PAOK. The Thessaloniki team played second on the ladder Panathinaikos last week, and now faces the team directly behind it, Asteras Tripolis. Fans are right to be worried. Panathinaikos has Marcus Berg to thank, after the Swede collected a hat-trick for the team, helped by a Nikos Karelis goal. PAOK equalised (1-1) through Stefanos Athanasiadis just before half-time and led 2-1 early in the second half via Yiannis Skondras. But after conceding three goals in 24 minutes, the injury-time header by Christian Noboa was no more than a consolation goal. Asteras is on a two match winning streak, adding to the amazing 6-1 win against OFI with a 1-0 win against Atromitos last week. PAOK will need to grab possession of the ball early to really have a chance at taking the win. A series of events have led to Olympiakos not kicking a ball all this month at home: The Super League's 26th round of games, including its home game against Asteras Tripolis on March 1, did not Unbeaten Roar, Sydney spar Most teams will take on very equally matched opponents in a huge weekend of A-League football PAOK fell short last week against Panathinaikos. PHOTO: EPA/SPYROS CHORCHOUBAS. take place due to the government's decision to suspend the league for one week, and its March 7 game at Panthrakikos was postponed to a date that has not yet been set. It did at least come away with a win this week after dominating the AEK Cup match. The Reds are on equal points with Panathinaikos at the moment but at the same time are a match behind. Their return to the Super League this week comes at the hands of Xanthi, which hasn’t lost a match in 14 matches. Ironically, its last failed match was thanks Olympiakos. Fifth-placed Panaitolikos are hoping to get themselves out of a slight slump when they come up against PAS Giannina and Kalloni take on equal placed Veria. Mid-week success for Wanderers, Adelaide Both Western Sydney Wanderers and Adelaide United earned tough wins mid-week to prepare themselves for the weekend fixtures. Adelaide United was the last to play, earning a hard fought 2-1 win over Central Coast Mariners at Hindmarsh Stadium. Central Coast enjoyed the brighter start on Thursday night and the majority of possession, restricting Adelaide to playing long balls out from defence. Adelaide United coach Josep Gombau says the turning point for the team was its immediate goal after the Mariners got ahead. "The first 20 minutes we didn't have the passing lines and the style we play," he says. "For me the key moment was when they scored, and one minute later we scored. "This made the team trust in itself and try to play our football. It was comforting to see Central Coast play so cohesively after it saw its head coach asked to leave just last week. For the Wanderers, they finally secured a win at Wanderland when they managed a 3-2 victory over Melbourne City. It is just their second win of the season and in turn has finally lifted them off the bottom of the ALeague ladder. City, who were desperate to regain a top-six spot, remain seventh after backto-back defeats. Since the A-League came back into action after the Asian Cup, neither Brisbane Roar nor Sydney FC have lost a game. Now, the two prepare to clash in a huge Sunday match for round 21 of the A-League. Roar definitely has more at stake. It's hoping to cement its finals position, and sitting at sixth place isn't much to be happy about when there's seven matches left to go. Roar managed to keep fans happy last week when it secured a home win against Western Sydney Wanderers, keeping a 1-0 clean sheet. Roar midfielder Luke Brattan said after the match that he's seeing the team build more momentum, and expects to see the team stay in the top six. Sydney FC matched the 1-0 score too last week, but had an easy opponent to do so. Its Newcastle Jets win was thanks to marquee striker Marc Janko, his sixth straight match to score. He'll be integral to the Sky Blues’ next match but Roar coach Mike Mulvey will surely be working on restricting him as much as possible on the pitch. Dimitri Petratos proved to be integral when the Roar played Sydney in December 2013, scoring a winning hat-trick. Of late, the young Greek Australian hasn't had much luck, only scoring two goals in the last 30 matches. Mulvey trusts the player, but will he need more time to get back to his scoring ways? Time will tell. Melbourne City is hoping to make amends for its disappointing loss to Western Sydney Wanderers on Wednesday when it takes on bottom placed Newcastle Brisbane Roar player Dimitri Petratos (L) hasn’t had much luck scoring goals for the team this season. PHOTO: AAP/DAN PELED. Jets tonight at AAMI park. The team is just one point away from making the top six, and is desperate to build momentum in the next few matches to ensure that happens. It has a great chance to springboard itself tonight in front of a home crowd. Ladder leader Perth Glory has an interesting match against second placed Wellington Phoenix. The New Zealand team managed to catch Adelaide United unaware and earned a 2-0 victory at home. Perth had thought it had sailed to another clean win until a last minute Kostas Barbarouses goal ended the match in a 1-1 draw. Heidelberg lose points for first time Heidelberg United had a demoralising loss to Bentleigh Greens last week but is in good stead to take on Avondale FC Bentleigh Greens' come from behind 3-2 win was a big blow for Heidelberg United. Disaster struck the top aspiring team when they were left with 10 men after Reuben Way received his second yellow card after a horror tackle. One goal up, Heidelberg coach George Katsakis could only watch in horror as the Greens powered home three goals in the space of 30 minutes. After two impressive wins, the loss has really eaten into Heidelberg's rankings, with Heidelberg were outplayed by Bentleigh Greens last week. PHOTO: HEIDELBERG UNITED. the team falling to sixth place behind a resurging Port Melbourne Sharks. This afternoon, Katsakis and his boys will take on an easier opponent, hoping to dust themselves off and get back to winning ways. They take on 12th placed Avondale FC, a team buoyed by getting itself out of a two match losing streak after managing to hold the Sharks to a 0-0 draw last week and pick up its first points of the season. It'll be a hard task coming up against Heidelberg but the underdog status will give some extra power. Greek Cypriot club Bentleigh Greens is holding onto its top position tentatively, with Melbourne Knights creeping ever so close with one match down. The Knights, the Greens and South Melbourne are the only teams to keep their winning streaks going from the start of the season. The Knights would have had an easy match against Dandenong Thunder to keep their place, while South Melbourne had a tough match against the Greens on Friday. Oakleigh returned to play last night after its Hume City match was abandoned after Oakleigh forward Ben Clarke suffered a sickening head injury. It's been a shaky start to the season for Oakleigh, but the strong side is expected to come into its own in the next coming weeks when it takes on some easier opponents. Northcote City got its first win of the season last week, showing signs it shouldn't be overlooked. In an entertaining game, Northcote shot three goals past Pascoe Vale's goalie to earn the bragging rights at the 3-2 win.
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