Today saw our football team return to the superleague for the second half of the season with a much anticipated home clash against the Salonika team Iraklis. With a vibrant crowd behind the goalmouths and the stadium filling up nicely it seemed that today would see us get some revenge for our earlier season loss against this team.
In fact we opened the game at a fast tempo and despite some dodgy early marking which almost gave Iraklis a chance, it was our team who had the first chances on goal. The first being a Mirallas shot which blazed over the bar but the second being a much more dangeroud shot from the edge of the area by David Fuster, just as unsuccessful though ultimately. After the first minutes of the game had gone, we settled down in the game and took over control of ball possession although it had to be admitted that we were having some minor problems in threading the ball through to the forwards. When we did manage to get the ball through, we couldn't get any decent chances although we were keeping the ball high in the opposition half.
After the first fifteen minutes of the game, Iraklis started to get themselves organised defensively and although we were still controlling the ball and the game, they were breaking up our attacks and intercepting our passes more often. We were in full control of the ball upto and incuding the halfway line, there simply wasn't any Iraklis players past this point but getting the ball forwards was proving to be very frustrating for our players. This of course was compounded by Iraklis sticking 5 defenders in the box and simply flooding the area. We had a half chance on their goal in the 28th minute when a Kevin Fuster pass from the halfway line got all the way through their defence but unfortunately Mirallas shot wide.
In the 32nd minute though we finally got the opening goal of the game, this came from a left wing cross to the unmarked Rommedahl on the far side of the box. Rommedahl shot hard and on target but found the keeper ready and waiting for the shot. The keeper however couldn't keep a hold of the ball, spilled it and allowed David Fuster to quickly nip in and poke it into the net for 1-0.
The goal meant that Iraklis couldn't play their tactics of 11-men-back any longer and so they started to throw players forward. They didn't seem to fare any better against us apart from the occasional challenge for the ball in our half of the pitch. The change in tactics however meant that they couldn't keep as many players back and this is something that we were not slow to take advantage over with Riera having possibly the best chance on goal from close range which unfortunately passed over the bar and this was the last real action of the first half.
We started the second half with the same attacking intent that we had displayed during the first half and started off making attacks on their goal once again. Iraklis however were also coming forward at us at times and so we were viewing some end-to-end football at this time. We did manage to make some chances on their goal from first Rommedahl and then Torosidis but we found Eleftheropoulos capable to saving both shots. We also made our first substitution in the 59th minute with Zairi replacing Rommedahl.
With the game now in its last 30 minutes, Iraklis decided to come forward at us. We were capable of easily defending ourselves against their attacks though whilst also mounting our own with Riera and Mirallas both having shots on the Iraklis goal. Our second substitution of Riera for Pantelic was also made during this time (69'). We followed this substitution up with couple of great chances to score a second goal through Mirallas (who hit the post) and Pantelic who shot the ball over the bar, (Mirallas then showed some great skill just moments later in winning a corner). At the other end, Iraklis player Soltani dove in the box to earn himself a second yellow card and to reduce Iraklis to 10 men. We also now made our final substitution by replacing Giannis Papadopoulos with Jose Holebas.
We now took over the game once again for the final 15 minutes of the game as we went in search of a 2nd goal and boy, did we get one!!!! The second goal in the game was shot from outside the area by Marko Pantelic who got a beautiful crack on goal in the 83rd minute which sailed past Eleftheropoulos and thumped into the back of the net. Iraklis tried to react but by now it was too late for them and we were in full control of the game. Pantelic almost got a third goal from a free kick but saw his effort go over instead. The game finished after 3 minutes of extra time and it was a good home win.
Olympiakos 2-0 Iraklis32' Fuster83' PantelicOlympiakos
: Pardo, Torosidis, A.Papadopoulos, Potouridis, Bravo, G.Papadopoulos (75' Holebas), Ibagaza, Rommedahl (59' Zairi), Fuster, Riera (69' Pantelic), MirallasIraklis
: Eleftheropoulos, Arabatzis, Kanakoudis (70' Lima), Katsikas, Josemi, Iliadis (70' Vellios), Garcia, Dani, Soltani, Sisic (81' Voutsias), MaraReferee
: Konstantineas (Messenias)Assistants
: Gagas (Larisa), Alexias (Messenias)Yellow Cards
: G.Papadopoulos (38'), A.Papadopoulos (42'), Ibagaza (59') - Soltani (42'), Arabatzis (51'), Voutsias (90')Red Cards
: Soltani (73' Second Yellow)