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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 21 September 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 21 SEPTEMBER 2019 25 SPORT Super League One: Olympiacos impress as PAOK are victorious in Peristeri The Red and Whites annihilated Volos 5-0, scoring four of their goals in the second half, while the ‘eagles of the North’ beat Atromitos 2-3 in a thrilling contest Greek Super League One continued over the weekend with a number of exciting games. In Piraeus, Olympiacos extended their recent impressive run by dominating newly relegated Volos 5-0, proving that they're in great form ahead of their UEFA Champions League opener against Tottenham Hotspur. The Red and Whites scored in the opening minutes (12') after a Valbuena corner kick found Guillherme's head, yet remained relatively quiet for the next hour. In the last 20 minutes of the game however, a storm erupted in the Volos area, with the home side scoring another four times to settle the encounter. Olympiacos now have three out of three wins in their first games of the tournament, as do champions PAOK, who were able to escape from Peristeri with a narrow 2-3 win thanks to a Jose Crespo goal late in injury time. Abel Ferreira's men scored twice in a space of five minutes in the first half (goals by Akpom and Matos) and thought they would be cruis- ing to an easy win, yet their openings in defence gave the home side a chance to come back into the game. Apostolos Vellios capitalised on a cross by Manousos to reduce the margin of PAOK's lead late in the first half and, as if that wasn't enough, he brought the two teams level after a wonderful solo effort in the 52nd minute. The champions came back out on the attack, hunting for that crucial goal that would allow them to escape without any losses from this difficult ground and found it late in the game after a free kick was headed by Varela, landing into the back of the Atromitos net. But after consulting with the VAR, the referee cancelled the goal correctly, as the defender from Cape Verde began his effort from an offside position. But the visitors weren't disheartened by this fact and kept piling the pressure, with their efforts being rewarded late in injury time after a free kick that was taken from the left found the head of Crespo, who from an onside position put the ball past Theodorakis. Xanthi were also able to hang on for a third consecutive win, as they beat Asteras Tripolis at home 2-1. The biggest shock of round three however came from Kleanthis Vikelidis, where an underwhelming Panathinaikos were destroyed by Aris 4-0. The Greens seemed like a group of amateurs at times, making foolish errors and costly mistakes that allowed the home side to claim an easy win. It's worth noting that this is the biggest win Aris have ever recorded over Panathinaikos in the history of the Greek League (whether we're talking about the Alpha Ethniki or Super League). In other results, AEK continued their winning streak by beating Lamia 2-0 at home, while an impressive OFI took the three points against Panetolikos 3-1. The eternal rivalry between PAOK faced a difficult challenge against Atromitos but were able to walk away with all three points from Peristeri. PHOTO: APE/MPE Panathinaikos and Olympiacos easily stands out from next round's schedule. SUPER LEAGUE ONE ROUND THREE RESULTS Atromitos - PAOK 2-3 (45'+1', 52' Vellios - 17' Akpom, 22' Matos, 90'+2' Crespo) OFI - Panetolikos 3-1 (54', 85' Tsilianidis, 61' Manos - 69' Morar, 29 s.o. Biai) Olympiacos - Volos 5-0 (12' Guillherme, 71' El Arabi, 79' Guerrero, 83' pen. Valbuena, 90'+3' Soudani - 83' s.o. Lyratzis) Xanthi - Asteras Tripolis 2-1 (19' Durickovic, 55' Sturgeon - 57' Fernandez) Panionios - AEL 1-0 (56' Maksimovic - 78' s.o. Zivkovic) AEK - Lamia 2-0 (37' OG Pliatsikas, 45'+2' Vranjes) Aris - Panathinaikos 4-0 (19' Fetfatzidis, 43' Velez, 54' Diguiny, 64' Ideye) ROUND FOUR FIXTURES Saturday 21 September 5.15 pm Volos - OFI 7.30 pm Asteras Tripolis - Atromitos 8.00 pm Panetolikos - AEK Sunday 22 September 3.00 pm AEL - Xanthi 6.30 pm PAOK - Aris 7.30 pm Lamia - Panionios 8.30 pm Panathinaikos - Olympiacos Olympiacos fight back against Tottenham in the opening game of the Champions League After a trying qualification process that saw Olympiacos from Piraeus go through three consecutive rounds, the opening day of the UEFA Champions League group stage at Karaiskakis Stadium was considered by many as something of a pinnacle for the Greek club. Especially considering that they were up against the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, a team from the Premiership that had gone all the way to reach the competition's final just a few short months ago. And yet, Olympiacos' players weren't going to let themselves be content with a simple appearance in the world's most prestigious football club competition; they were determined to show to the world that their presence in the Champions League was no mere coincidence. And, for the most part, they succeeded. There wasn't much separating the two teams in the opening minutes of the game. If anything, it was the Spurs that seemed to be the less threatening of the two sides, as each time Olympiacos broke on the counter, they seemed to create trouble for the English defence. And they came closest to a goal on the 18th minute when a cross by Kostas Tsimikas from the left found Daniel Podence inside the area, who laid the ball on for Miguel Guerrero with his chest, but the Spaniard's shot bounced off Hugo Lloris' post. And just when the home side were looking like they could make the breakthrough, Harry Kane made his presence felt in Piraeus. Taking the ball past Yassine Meriah and inside the area, he forced the Tunisian defender to trip him over, with the referee pointing to the spot. The English striker took the spot kick and with the whole of the Karaiskakis cheering against him him, he calmly put the ball in the heart of Jose Sa's net. As if that wasn't enough, four minutes later the Tot- his teammates' hopes. The Tottenham players came out into the second half looking a lot more aggressive to find a third and settle the match, yet the Olympiacos defence proved too difficult to brake down. The home side were determined to not let this game go and they found the equaliser they were looking for early in the second half. Mathieu Valbuena proved crucial in helping Olympiacos claim a 2-2 result against last season’s finalists Tottenham Hotspur at the Georgios Karaiskakis. PHOTO: APE/MPE tenham midfield managed to stop an Olympiacos counter, with the ball landing on the feet of Lucas Moura who unleashed a volley from outside the area to double the visitor's lead. Just as everything seemed to be over between the two teams, with the English side claiming an undeserved advantage, Olympiacos found a lifeline. After a wonderful combination between Mathieu Valbuena and Daniel Podence, the latter broke into the area and with a low shot put the ball past Lloris to reinvigorate the stadium and renew After a scuffle outside the area of the British team, Belgian defender Jan Verthongen brought down Valbuena who was inside the six-yard-box, with the referee awarding yet another spot kick, this time for the home side. The Frenchman made no mistake against his former teammate in the national team, bringing the two sides level and setting the Karaiskakis ablaze with jubilation. The visitors held on to the ball and tried to find the gaps in the Olympiacos defence, with manager Mauricio Pochettino throwing Son, Lamela and Sissoko onto the pitch as a last ditch effort to take the three points. Yet they just couldn't find a way through, with Olympiacos always looking as the more dangerous side whenever they broke free on the counter. 35-year-old Valbuena, having given all he had, was eventually substituted for Yassine Benzia (in his first appearance for the Greek club), with the entire stadium giving a standing ovation to the Olympiacos playmaker. Despite the opportunities created on both ends, neither team was able to break the deadlock, with the referee's final whistle leaving them both with a sense that they could take something more from the encounter. But, for Olympiacos to claim such a result against a club worth ten times their own, that can only be considered as a great success. Round two will see the club from Piraeus take on Red Star in Belgrade, while the Spurs face the difficult challenge of Bayern Munich in London.
14 September 2019
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