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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 03 March 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 3 MARCH 2018 27 SPORT "In fact, I was so excited and eager to get started I caught a taxi to the club's stadium to walk onto the ground for the first time as a professional footballer." Charalampopoulos says his first season in Greece was challenging and taught him a lot about what it takes to play at such a level. "I feel I developed a lot as a player and as a person and helped the team achieve its target of remaining in the second division for that season," he says. "I was happy with my per- formances when I played, and it showed that the work I was doing was helping me. From February I ended up being in the match day squad 15 times and I played five games in my first season." During his second season with Acharnaikos FC, Charalampopoulos' performances caught the eye of Apollon Larissa and accepting their offer of moving to a bigger club proved an easy decision. Aristomenis Charalampopoulos PHOTO: SUPPLIED "So, I rejected Iraklis and instead I accepted an offer from an Athens-based team in the Greek Football League called Acharnaikos. Accepting that I'd be playing in a lower division at a club with lower quality facilities was difficult but the challenge of Greek football and the opportunity of playing professional football in Europe was the driving factor in my decision to stay in Athens.” While Acharnaikos wasn't his first choice he was still delighted to have made the move from the semi-professional club in South Australia to the professional environment in Greece. "Signing my first professional contract was a fantastic feeling and a very proud moment for me," he says. "The se-up at Apollon Larissa is very different from that at Acharnaikos," he says. "The club has two separate training facilities and plays in the Larissa Municipal Stadium – a 20,000 seater called Alkazar. They are well-organised with staff on and off the park, and they look after all aspects of the game and players’ welfare. The club has a much larger profile in Larissa than Acharnaikos did in Athens, as in Athens there were eight professional clubs compared to Larissa's two." Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Charalampopoulos is confident his performances will see him be able to finally secure that Super League contract he missed out on three seasons ago. "My short-term goals are to accumulate as many goals and assists as I can and help the team to achieve as high a finish as possible," he says. "I'm hoping that this summer will bring a move to a Super League club. After playing against Olympiakos in the Greek Cup I am confident of my ability to do very well at that level. One day I want to play at the highest level possible and that means playing as an international either for Greece or Australia. In club football I want to play at the very highest level, and that is for a successful club in the UEFA Champions' League." High profile Greek soccer personalities charges with match fixing Greek Court hands out suspended sentence to Roar’s Papadopoulos after illegal betting conviction A long list of names that includes well-known football personalities accused of fixing soccer matches in Greece has been released, creating even more turmoil in Greece's turbulent soccer scene. The men found guilty of setting up matches are also implicated in numerous cases of illegal betting from matches in 2010 and 2011, Kathimerini reports. The list includes figures that are currently connected to Australian-based clubs. Former Greek international Avraam Papadopoulos, currently of Brisbane Roar, and Apollon Smyrnis player Costas Mendrinos have both been found guilty of illegal betting. A three-member Greek Court of Appeal in Athens determined the sentence for the former Olympiacos defender, along with 57 other people, for their roles in the Koriopolis match fixing scandal in the 2010-11 season. It was a scandal involving match fixing for betting earnings and was uncovered through a series of phone taps by the National Intelligence Service. The 33-year-old Papadopoulos arrived in Australia last year and joined Brisbane Roar early in 2017, claiming at the time that the allegations levelled against him were untrue. According to The World Game, a Brisbane Roar spokes- man said in response to Papadopoulos’s conviction and sentencing, “Brisbane Roar Football Club were aware of an investigation into betting on football matches in Greece between 2009 and 2010 involving Avram Papadopoulos when he signed for Brisbane in February 2017. “The club are awaiting further information on this matter and will not be making any further comment at this time.” Papadopoulos reportedly has the right to appeal the sentence. Meanwhile, the president and the owner of Asteras Tripolis, the former owner of Levadiakos, two former Olympiakos defenders, and the suspended mayor of Volos Achilleas Beos, who was also the owner of the local Reds club, are reportedly connected to the infamous 'Koriopolis' case, a scandal concerning fixing games for betting earnings that became known through a series of telephone conversations tapped by the National Intelligence Service (EYP). An Athens appeals court found the accused guilty of being involved in a scam, but penalties have not yet been announced yet. Beos was found guilty of bribery and of fixing the Asteras Tripolis vs Olympiakos Volou and Panserraikos vs Olympiakos Volou games in 2011, and repeatedly being involved in illegal betting. Super League club Asteras Tripolis has to take action and distance itself from club president and former referee Giorgos Borovilos as well as main stakeholder Dimitris Bakos who have been found guilty of bribery to fix the Panserraikos vs Asteras, Kavala vs Asteras and Asteras vs Olympiakos Volou games. Fromer Levadiakos star Yiannis Kobotis, who has formally sold his stake in the club, was found guilty of fixing the Ilioupoli vs Levadiakos game. On the other hand, the former president of Ilioupoli soccer club, Giorgos Tsakoyiannis, was found guilty of bribery, illegal betting, money laundering, and owning illegal weapons among other misdemeanors and offences. Coach Nikos Pantelis and agent Angelos Travlos have also been found guilty of bribery and illegal betting. Avraam Papadopoulos in action for Brisbane Roar. Postecoglou begins Japanese coaching journey with draw ahead of tight schedule It may not have been the dream start he was hoping for, but former Socceroos boss Ange Postecoglou marked his return to club football with a respectable draw last weekend. His new club Yokohama Marinos fell just short of a winning start to the new JLeague season against one of the pre-season favourites Cerezo Osaka, the team who defeated the Marinos in the Emperor's Cup final earlier this year, before Postecoglou took over as coach. In last weekend's season opener, Yokohama was headed for a 1-0 away win when Cerezo scored a late equaliser for a share of the points. Postecoglou set out his team in an attacking 4-3-3 formation, in which Socceroos defender Milos Degenek started alongside captain, and Japan legend, Yuji Nakazawa in the heart of the defence. In the short period of time that he's been in charge, Postecoglou has already introduced a more attacking formation to the Yokohama Marinos in comparison with the way the team played under previous coach Erik Mombaerts. According to Milos Degenek, Postecoglou has adjusted the midfield structure by deploying two number 10s and a single number six as opposed to last season's formation which used two defensive midfielders. Speaking to The World Game ahead of round two’s visit to Kashiwa Reysol, Degenek said, "The style of football we're playing under the boss is a lot different to any other team in the J League. He says it’s a lot better and it felt really good out on the pitch in this way. "We were up against the strongest side in the league and we took it to them on their own home ground. "The result was positive but we really should have killed it off in the first half. All in all, the boys were happy and the boss was okay with it as well. Last year we played with one number 10 and two number sixes.” He said there is a more of- fensive style this year with a higher line, and a lot of players rotating. This Saturday morning (AEST), Yokohama plays their second round league match when they visit Kashiwa Reysol, a team currently competing in the AFC Champions League. Kashiwa boast a couple of Brazilian imports in their forward line; Christiano and Ramon Lopes. The match against Kashiwa Reysol marks the start of quite a heavy schedule for Postecoglou and his Yokohama Marinos team, with five matches in two-and-ahalf weeks, including three league and two Group stage J-League Cup matches.
24 February 2018
10 March 2018