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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 23 February 2019
28 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 23 FEBRUARY 2019 SPORT Martins chose the same 11 players that started the game against the Ukrainian side last Thursday, yet it seems this choice was not the wisest as his team appeared incapable of functioning on the pitch. As soon as the game started, it seemed all the pressure began to get to them, as they made one mistake after the next. AEK took advantage of the home side's inability to create proper play and took the lead through their usual suspect Ezequiel Ponce just after three minutes. Lazaros Christodoulopoulos was unlucky in his club’s triumph against his former team AEK, as he tore his anterior ligament and will be forced to sit out the rest of the season. PHOTO: APE/MPE After last week's loss against PAOK, Olympiacos desperately needed a win against AEK if they were going to maintain a safe distance from them in second place. A defeat would have brought the champions just two points shy of the position that gives access to the Champions League qualifi- ers, adding extra pressure on the team from Piraeus. Pedro Martins and his men also wanted the victory for psychological reasons, as they hadn't won either of their last two important games against PAOK or Dynamo Kiev and they wanted to give themselves and their fans something to celebrate. This goal seemed to make matters worse for Olympiacos, with their defenders making several unforced errors, yet the champions weren't able to create any more dangerous situations in the area of Jose Sa. Clear evidence of both team's poor form is the fact that the greatest opportunity in the first half apart from the goal came from a poor return header by Cisse towards his own goalkeeper that Sa was barely able to keep out of his net. Something needed to change. At half team, Olympiacos president Vangelis Marinakis headed to the locker rooms and gave a pep talk to the players in the hope that this would help improve their game. Martins made a couple of changes heading into the second half, switching out Vukovic for Torosidis who could create more dangerous situations on the right side (while moving Meriah to the centre of defence) and a tired Gil Dias for Christodoulopoulos. And just a few minutes after the break, Olympiacos showed they were a different team, as a cross from the right found Podence who attempted a hopeful scissor kick from outside the area that bounced off the bodies in front of him. The loose ball fell to Kamara who blasted it past Barkas with his left foot and gave his side the equaliser. About 10 minutes later, Lazaros suffered an anterior ligament injury (that will keep him sidelined for the rest of the season, as was announced by the club's medical team later on.) Martins turned this into a blessing, introducing Guerrero into the game and adding further pressure to the AEK defence. His gamble began to bare fruit on the 72nd minute, as Fortounis stole the ball in midfield and put it past Barkas for the second time in the evening. On the 83rd, Podence controlled the ball wonderfully, leaving two AEK defenders behind him and served it to Ahmed Hassan who had no trouble adding his name to the score sheet. Three minutes before the 90', Fortounis grabbed his second of the night, after a long ball forward saw him go past Barkas and slip the ball into the empty net, with the exhilarated fans cheering his name. This win will help boost morale at the club as they pack their bags and head to Kiev for their return game with Dynamo. Olympiacos will definitely need to score at least once at the "Olimpiyskiy" as the 2-2 result of the first match gives the advantage to the Ukrainian side. Meanwhile, PAOK extended their winning streak with a 1-5 thrashing of Apollon in Athens. Panathinaikos earned a hard-fought 1-0 win against Asteras at home while Aris and Panionios fought to a 1-1 draw. PAOK remain at the top of the table with 57 points, while Olympiacos follow in second with 48 and AEK are in third place with 40 points. From this weekend's DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM ISSN 1321-1676 9 771321 167062 Olympiacos decimate AEK ahead of European clash schedule, the derby of Thessaloniki between PAOK and Aris will be the centre of attention for the Greek League. DAY 21 RESULTS Panathinaikos - Asteras Tripolis 1-0 (16' Altman) Giannena - Atromitos 0-2 (12' Koulouris, 50' Warda) AEL - Xanthi 1-1 (8' Nunic - 21' Almeida) Levadiakos - Panetolikos 1-0 (54' pen. Tsambouris) Aris - Panionios 1-1 (48' Matilla, 11' sent off Basha - 56' Tsiloulis) Olympiacos - AEK 4-1 (49' Kamara, 72', 87' Fortounis, 83' Hassan - 3' Ponce) Apollon Smyrnis - PAOK 1-5 (64' D'Urso - 4' Pelkas, 9' Oliveira, 33' Biseswar, 78' Swiderski, 88' Henrique) OFI - Lamia 1-3 (86' Sakor, 81' sent off Deligiannidis - 57' Karamanos, 61' Tomas, 74' Bertoglio) DAY 22 SCHEDULE Saturday 23 February Xanthi - Levadiakos Asteras Tripolis - Atromitos AEK - Apollon Smyrnis Sunday 24 February Panionios - Panathinaikos Lamia - AEL PAOK - Aris Monday 25 February Olympiacos - OFI Panetolikos - Giannena Apostolos Stamatelopoulos to head ‘west’..? According to reliable sources, the young forward is close to signing with Western United ALEX ANYFANTIS It seems the Greek society at Western United is set to go up by one. As a credible source told Neos Kosmos, Apostolos Stamatelopoulos will most likely be joining Panagiotis Kone at the newly established club, in an attempt to find more game time. The 19-year-old hasn't been given a lot of chances by his coach at Adelaide United, Marko Kurz and will be hoping this move will be a step up for his career. Stamatelopoulos counts just 12 appearances and two goals this season. The prospect of the new club, but also the opportunity to play next to a marquee player such as Kone, appeared too good to pass up by the talented winger, who, if all comes to pass, will join Kone and Josh Risdon in becoming the third signing of Western United. Stamatelopoulos also has four appearances for the under-20 Australia team, and he is also eligible to play for the Greek national team should he wish to do so. According to the same sources, the Greek presence at the new Melbourne club will not be limited to just Stamatelopoulos and Kone. Meanwhile, the higher-ups at United have been scouring the market in search of a reliable manager and so far, the one to stand out has been Mark Rudan. Despite the excellent season he has been having with the Wellington Phoenix, the Croatian-origin coach has stated that it is difficult for him to work so far away from his family, which is the reason why he hasn't accepted the offer to extend the contract given to him by the New Zealand club. The Phoenix have been playing great football under Rudan, claiming some good results in the A-League, in- Will Stamatelopoulos be switching the red of Adelaide United for the green of newly-introduced Western United? PHOTO: AAP/GEORGE SALPIGTIDIS cluding a 1-3 shocking away win against Sydney FC and a 3-3 draw at AAMI Park in their clash with champions Melbourne Victory. His abilities inside the locker rooms and keen strategic eye are what made Rudan the number one choice for the Western United bench, with the club owners already offering him a deal that is highly appealing. Other candidates that were considered for the position, but their cases didn't go through for one reason or another, were those of Gianfranco Zola, Arsene Wenger and former Brisbane Roar assistant manager Ross Aloisi.
16 February 2019
02 March 2019