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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 22 December 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 22 DECEMBER 2018 27 SPORT Olympiacos capitalise on good form and Panathinaikos’ stand against Atromitos The “red-and-whites” seem to have gained their second wind after last Thursday’s epic win against AC Milan for the Europa League It seems qualifying in the Europa League in such an emphatic way was just the cure Olympiacos were looking for, as they came back with a vengeance in the Greek Super League as well with a 3-0 thrashing of Lamia. The Piraeus side played impressive football at times, hiding away the ball from their opponents and finally appear to have solved their difficulty in reaching their opponent's net. Despite some opportunities wasted in the first half, Pedro Martins' men showed the same amount of patience that they displayed against the "rossonerri" and eventually found their way to the goal after a swift exchange of passes within the area between Natcho, Fortounis and Guerrero, with the latter just tapping the ball into the back of the net. The home side opened the second half by extending their lead after a cross by Elabdellaoui missed the head of Guerrero but found Fetfatzidis at the far post who blasted it into the goal. Elabdellaoui himself added his name to the score sheet on the 51st minute. This win brought Olympiacos back up to second place, as Atromitos could not find any points at the Olympic Stadium against Panathinaikos. A fine goal by Federico Macheda was all it took to make the difference between the two teams, despite several opportunities wasted by the Peristeri side, including a missed penalty kick by Koulouris that was saved by Dioudis. AEK also returned to poor form this weekend, dropping another two points at Larissa. In fact, it was the home side who were left heartbroken in the end, as forward Bargan missed an incredible opportunity having carried the ball past goalkeeper Barkas, yet Pedro Martins’ work at Olympiacos finally seems to be baring fruit, with his team playing attractive football and finding the goals they need. PHOTO: APE/MPE failing to score in front of an empty net. PAOK continued their unbeaten run this week as well, with an away win at Livadia. By the 46th minute, Razvan Lucesu's men were already two goals in front, with Levadiakos only managing to pull one back fifteen minutes before the end. Aris lost points at home against Panetolikos in a game that had everything, including red cards, missed penalties, goals from corner kicks and last minute heartbreaks. Currently, PAOK remains eight points clear (38) of Olympiacos (30), while Atromitos are third with 28. AEK follows with 24 and Panathinaikos is fifth with 22. Glory’s Ikonomidis Wins Socceroos’ Selection for Asian Cup Defence Socceroos boss Graeme Arnold's need for speed in attack has provided Perth Glory flyer Chris Ikonomidis with an early Christmas present. The 23 year old forward's scintillating form in the A-League this season has won him a spot in Arnold's 23 man Socceroo squad set to defend its Asian Cup title at the AFC Asian Cup tournament in the United Arab Emirates beginning early in January. Ikonomidis is just one of three current A-League players selected in the squad along with Sydney based defenders Josh Risdon (WSW) and Rhyan Grant ( Sydney FC). In addition to Ikonomidis, the other player of Greek Australian descent selected in Arnold's final 23 man squad, is another of his former charges at Sydney FC, but who is now based in Norway, young defender Alex Gersbach. But for Melbourne Victory's Socceroo hopefuls, James Troisi and Terry Antonis, and the Jets' Dimi Petratos, the news wasn't so good with all three unfortunately missing out. However there's an out- side chance either one of them could come into calculation as an injury replacement player if Aaron Mooy is ruled out following an independent assessment of his knee injury later in the week. Cyprus based striker Apostolos Giannou has also missed out, but an even bigger talking point is the omission of recent, frequent forward selection, Tomi Juric. Instead Arnold has opted for a fleet footed attack by including Hibernian based forward Jamie MacLaren, Scottish born convert Martin Boyle and Perth Glory's Ikonomidis. According to Socceroos boss Arnold, Ikonomidis's ALeague form this season, and the speed he brings in the attacking third of the field, make him an excellent fit for the style of play the coach expects from the Socceroos. "Chris [Ikonomidis] has made a great start to his time at Perth Glory under Tony Popovic and it has been his form in the Hyundai A-League that has sealed his place in the squad," he said. "Chris will add pace and energy to our at- tack, which is the consistent feature of the players that we have picked in the Socceroos' attack for this tournament. "We will play energetic, high-intensity football in the UAE, and the rapid attackers we have selected including Chris, Mathew [Leckie], Robbie [Kruse], Awer [Mabil], Martin [Boyle], Andrew [Nabbout], and Jamie [Maclaren] will enable us to implement our style," he concluded. Australia will play Jordan, Palestine, and Syria in Group B at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™. Eight venues in four cities (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Al Ain) will host matches at the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019™. The tournament will kick-off in Abu Dhabi on 5 January 2019 and conclude in the same city on 1 February 2019. SOCCEROOS SQUAD FOR ASIAN CUP: Goalkeepers: Mitch Langerak, Mat Ryan, Danny Vukovic Defence: Mark Milligan (capt), Aziz Behich, Milos Degenek, Alex Gersbach, Rhyan Grant, Matt Jurman, Josh Risdon, Trent Sainsbury Midfield: Mustafa Ami- The teams prepare for their final games before the winter break, with Olympiacos hosting AEL, Panathinaikos going to Panetolikos, PAOK welcoming Giannena and AEK facing Levadiakos. SUPER LEAGUE DAY 14 RESULTS PAS Giannena - Panionios 3-1 (51' Nikolias, 83', 88' pen. Gi- akos) / 82' Durmishaj) Aris - Panetolikos 1-2 (71' Diguiny, 28' sent off Cuesta / 63' Malis, 74' pen. Lucero) Asteras Tripolis - OFI 2-1 (62', 87' Tonso / 26' Deligiannidis) Apollon Smyrnis - Xanthi 1-0 (59' Jaguaribe) AEL - AEK 0-0 Panathinaikos - Atromitos 1-0 (24' Macheda, 90'+5' sent off Donis) Olympiacos - Lamia 3-0 (32' Guerrero, 46' Fetfatzidis, 51' Elabdellaoui) Levadiakos - PAOK 1-2 (75' Zisopoulos / 41' Prijovic, 46' Biseswar) DAY 15 FIXTURES Saturday 22 December Panetolikos - Panathinaikos OFI - Atromitos Panionios - Asteras Tripolis Sunday 23 December AEK - Levadiakos Lamia - Apollon Smyrnis Olympiacos - AEL Xanthi - Aris PAOK - PAS Giannena Olympiacos get drawn against Dynamo Kiev The Greek side will welcome the Ukrainians on 14 February, then one week later will travel to the Olimpiyskiy stadium for the return game Chris Ikonomidis returns to the Soc- ceroos after a Two Year absence. PHOTO: THE WEST AUSTRALIAN.COM.AU ni, Jackson Irvine, Massimo Luongo, Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic Attack: Martin Boyle, Chris Ikonomidis, Robbie Kruse, Mathew Leckie, Awer Mabil, Jamie Maclaren, Andrew Nabbout Dynamo Kiev is the opponent that Olympiacos will need to face if they are to continue their European adventure this season. The club from Piraeus should feel particularly satisfied with the result of the draw made at UEFA's headquarters in Nyon late on Monday, as they came dangerously close to confronting one of the heavyweights of the competition, such as Arsenal, Sevilla, Villareal and Benfica. Dynamo Kiev however should in no case be underestimated by the Greek club, as they managed to qualify first from a particularly difficult group with opponents such as Stade Rennais, Astana and Jablonec. They are currently placed second in the Ukrainian league behind Shakhtar Donetsk, with the tournament going into winter break now until late February. The club has no real star players, instead they rely on teamwork to get the job done. However, potential threats identified for the Olympiacos defence include 21-yearold Viktor Tsyhankov, a fundamental member of his national team despite his young age, Croatian defender Josip Pivaric and Brazilian midfielder Tche Tche. Founded in 1927, Dynamo Kiev are considered the most successful team in both Ukraine and previously in the former Soviet Union overall. They have won the Ukrainian league 15 times, the Soviet league 13 times, the Ukrainian cup 11 times and the Soviet cup another 9, while they also have two UEFA Cup Winners' Cups in their collection. They play at the Olimpiyskiy stadium in Kiev, which has a capacity of over 70,050 people.
15 December 2018
05 January 2019