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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 26 January 2019
SPORT 30 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 26 JANUARY 2019 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM PAOK determined to win championship title It appears as though PAOK are determined to win the championship title in Greece this season. The "black and whites" looked comfortable against Panionios at Toumba last Saturday night, defeating them 3-0. Manager Razvan Lucescu chose to leave key midfielder Dimitrios Pelkas out of the starting lineup, while the team was still trying to recover from losing its main goal scorer, Aleksandar Prijovic. Or so it was theoretically, as Biseswar put all those rumours to rest with a technical low shot from the right of the area just after 11 minutes. Skipper Adelino Vieirinha also got his name on the score sheet after his magnificent effort from the right left no room for reaction to goalkeeper Kotnik. Shakhov wrote the final score on the 69th, after beating the keeper from The “eagle of the north” had no problem against the team from Nea Smyrni, as they extended their unbeaten run in the season to 16 inside the area. This was the second consecutive 3-0 victory in the league for the team from Thessaloniki, as last week they beat Asteras with the same margin. Olympiacos remain eight points behind them, as they walked away from Giannena with a win in a game that was marked by two own goals. First it was Skondras that sent the ball into his own team's net after a great effort and cross by Fortounis from the right just after eight minutes. Six minutes later it was Jagos Vukovic that repeated the same error for the third time in the season (he had already done so against PAOK and Xanthi) to make the game level for the home team. Just a few minutes before the half time break, Podence dribbled the ball past two Giannena players and made the cross from the right where Chris- todoulopoulos was waiting to head the ball home and put his team back in the lead. Despite the efforts from both teams in the second half, nothing changed and Olympiacos took the three points that will allow them to remain in the title chase. There was a change in the third place however, as AEK have climbed the ladder after their impressive 3-0 win against Asteras at the Olympic Stadium. The champions opened the game with their foot on the pedal, as they had scored all three goals just after 20 minutes. Ezequiel Ponce, who seems to be in excellent form recently, scored a goal from the penalty spot for the Enosi, while Livaja and Alef als added their names on the score sheet. Meanwhile, it appears as though Atromitos' run is all but over since they stum- bled for a second consecutive week. The team from Peristeri suffered a 2-1 loss at the hands of Xanthi after the home team managed to come back from behind to secure the three points. The visitors had a lot of complaints to the referee as he awarded a penalty to Castro after the Xanthi player tripped over his own foot to collapse on the ground. Panathinaikos were the victims of a shock defeat against Lamia, since they were never able to find a response to Bertoglio's goal. PAOK are currently in first place with 44 points, with Olympiacos following with 36 and AEK in third with 30. For the next round, the "black-and-whites" will host OFI while the team from Pireaus travel to Tripoli to face Asteras and the champions go to Nea Smyrni for their clash with Panionios. The Greek championship title could return to northern Greece for the first time after 34 years. PHOTO: APE/MPE Victory have a good chance of retaining the A-League title, says Antonis The influential midfielder spoke to Neos Kosmos after his team’s 3-3 draw against the Wellington Phoenix ALEX ANYFANTIS Just beyond the halfway point of the season, Terry Antonis has established himself as an instrumental figure within the Victory midfield. PHOTO: AAP/ HAMISH BLAIR Terry Antonis has become the player around which Kevin Muscat builds his game plan. After barely having spent a year at the club, the 25-year-old plays a crucial role in the organisation of any attacking effort made by Melbourne Victory. Despite being just beyond the halfway point of the season, Antonis has already recorded four goals and six assists in his tally, and doesn't seem anywhere close to stopping there. The former PAOK midfielder was also on point on Sunday's game against Wellington, serving up the ball towards Barbarouses so the latter could score the equalising goal for the Victory. After the game, Neos Kosmos had the opportunity to speak with Antonis and he gave us his views on the team and the rest of the season, but also made us privy to the details of his Greek ancestry. So how did you see the game tonight Terry? In the first half we tried to do good things but the goals we conceded were kind of sloppy. It took a lot of effort to come back from that in the second half, but that's just how football is. Just beyond the halfway point of the season you have four goals and six assists in your name. Is it safe to say that you feel right at home here at Victory? Definitely. I'm enjoying it. But I've still got the other half of the season to go, with big games coming up. So I just have to keep going. Do you think you have a good chance of retaining the title this season? For sure. I think we have a good squad. We've got a few boys out at the moment, but we have to keep going. It's hard to go back-to-back but I believe in the team and the club believes in them as well. Is it safe to say that training with the players of the quality of Keisuke Honda or Ola Toivonen helps your game improve as well? Absolutely. When you train with those types of players, you learn and you see what they do. You try to pick that up in your game as well, so it definitely helps. You're still at a young age. Should the right offer come, would you be willing to take another chance at a league of a higher level? If the option becomes available, I won't pass it by. I'll look at it and take it from there. But at the moment, my focus is here. I'll worry about that after the season is over. So, where are you from? Well, I'm from Sydney, but my pappou was from Leros. I never got the chance to go over there while I was in Thessaloniki, but I really enjoyed Greece. I loved it, my wife loved it and we had an awesome time over there. As we speak, Stefanos Tsitsipas is facing what could possibly be the greatest challenge in the history of Greek tennis. Anything you'd like to wish for him Terry? Good luck, it's not going to be easy. I hope he knows the Greek community and everyone is behind him and is supporting him. This is really massive for him. Melbourne Victory continue the chase of Perth Glory who are currently sitting at the top of the A-League table, as they prepare to take on Sydney FC on Saturday night at the AAMI Park.
19 January 2019
2 February 2019