Tonights game saw our last friendly of the preseason, next week we kick off the league proper with our away match against Veroia. Back to tonight though and the game, our opponents tonight were Napoli and with both sides looking to start their own respective leagues shortly we started off with a reasonably strong lineup.
Napoli started off strongly in the match but we recovered after about five minutes in and started challenging them for the ball across the pitch. We were caught out defensively on one occasion in this early stage when Napoli beat the offside trap but we came back when we had managed to settle. The amount of chances in the opening 15 minutes were probably tied with both teams making attempts on goal.
Napoli made more chances on goal as the half wore on and we finally ended up conceding a goal in the 25th minute from a direct free kick. One of the Napoli players was fouled outside the box and when the free kick was taken it was hit just over our 4-man wall and into the net. It was a tough break for us but we would need to recover and press on to find an equaliser. We did get two chances in the minutes after to tie the score but couldn't manage to find the goal we needed.
After we had conceded the opening goal we made a concerted effort to get further up the pitch and grab a goal for ourselves. We won a number of corners and had chances on goal but none of them being successfull. We continued to keep the pressure on though and much of the final ten minutes of the half were played deep within the Napoli end. Eventually though the half ended and we finished off leaving the pitch with the score 1-0 at halftime.
Four chances were made to the team at the start of the second half but it couldn't help us from conceding again. This time it was a 47th minute goal from Marek Hamsik after our defence committed themselves too early and left the player unmarked. We tried to reply by mistimed our chances in front of net leaving us still two goals behind. Another chance going begging was Torosidis breaking through the defence and then smashing the ball wide. Our finishing was pretty awful throughout the game in general.
Napoli's third goal came from a corner which was headed into goal and again our defence was extremely wanting. Tragic might be a better description when the Italian player was left totally unmarked in the front of the goalmouth. At the other end of the pitch we just couldn't manage to get any shots on target, leading to a very frustrating night. Every attack we make either ends up going wide, over or into the keepers arms.
In the final quarter hour we went forward again to try and salvage some pride from the game but again our efforts suffered from the lack of finishing. We've looked very poor for long periods of the second half and Holebas in particular was just bloody awful. The game finished 3-0 against us and we had no-one to blame for the loss apart from ourselves. Our defence switched off for the two second half goals and offensively we were just terrible. A very poor performance in the second half all round.
Napoli 3-0 Olympiakos
Olympiakos : Carroll, Torosidis (79' Fuster), Papazoglou (46' Contreras), Siovas, Holebas, Maniatis, Fejsa (46' Greco), Machado (74' Modesto), Abdoun (46' Mitroglou), Lykogiannis (46' Ibagasa), Djebbour (85' Vlachodimos)
Kevin Mirallas has been announced by english football club Everton as their latest capture. Mirallas has signed a 4 year contract with the transfer amount rumoured to be in the region of €7.64m (according to Gavros).
Twenty players made the trip to Italy for tomorrows game against Napoli. The full team was announced as :-
Goalkeepers (2) :-
Defenders (6) :-
Siovas, Holebas, Manolas, Papazoglou, Torosidis, Contreras
Midfielders (10) :-
Greco, Ibagasa, Fuster, Modesto, Maniatis, Fejsa, Abdoun, Vlachodimos, Lykogiannis, Machado
Attackers (2) :-
Notable absentees are Tatos (injured yesterday), Fetfatzidis (tired), Pantelic (tired) and Mirallas (taking medical at Everton). The game starts at 10pm tomorrow.
Olympiakos announced the signing of Chilean international defender Pablo Contreras late last night. The player has already been announced for tomorrows match against Napoli and will make his debut for the team there.
Earlier this morning, Paulo Machado completed his transfer from Toulouse FC. The Portuguese midfielder signed a contract keeping him at Olympiakos for the next three years.
Tonight saw our penultimate friendly game of the summer with us facing Sporting Lisbon away from home. Our last few friendlies have seen us meeting better and better opposition and todays opponents were no exception. Again, as with almost all of our friendlies, we have started the game with a mixture of first and second team players (although the starting lineup for tonight could be argued as being our first XI). Sporting would be another tough test for our team but we would have to see how we played.
Lisbon made the first attack of the game before we had managed to settle into the game which we managed to clear but we were being pushed well into our own half in the first few minutes. Slowly we started to improve in the game though and had our first real chance on goal in the 8th minute courtesy of a free kick (unsuccessful though). It would be fair to say though that we were struggling to make our presence felt and were being pushed back into our half.
Onto the positives though and although Lisbon were pushing us back on the pitch we were doing a good job of intercepting the ball and were defending well. They weren't having many chances on goal for all their ball possession although it felt like one bit of poor judgement or luck would be all it would take to turn the game against us. For the time being though our luck was holding out and we were causing them some worries when we counter attacked up the pitch.
The best chance from us in the first half came at the 36 minute mark with Fejsa having a snapshot within the box. His chance however was wide and we were then pushed back again by the Portuguese team. The first half finished 0-0 and we had not played particularly well, the ball possession had been poor and we had been hemmed into our side of the pitch all too often. We would have to see if this would be addressed in the second half.
We started off much better in the second half, although we didn't score we performed to a much higher level than had been seen at the end of the first half. Although we were controlling the ball more it was our team which ended up conceding the first goal of the game. This was a low but powerful shot taken from outside the area and struck into the corner of the net. It was disappointing to see us concede in such a manner after we had improved since halftime.
The goal seemed to knock our confidence and we reverted to the play seen earlier in the game. The Portuguese began to control the ball once again and started hemming us well within our own half. We came under pressure again as Sporting came at us but managed to clear the ball again on a number of different occasions. As we were having some trouble in getting forward, we also made two changes to the attack and introduce some fresh legs. These alterations allowed us to relieve the pressure but we still were having our own problems in creating chances on goal.
In the last fifteen minutes of the match we had perhaps the best chance of the second half when a cross from the left was fired at the far post, Mirallas shot at the ball and had his effort saved on the line by the keeper. We made a few chances in the last quarter hour but none of any real note. The game finally finished at 1-0 against us (after a last chance from Lisbon) and this then marked our first loss in the friendlies. We never managed to control the midfield and they failed to help relieve the pressure on the defence. Perhaps we were set up a little too offensively for such a high profile team but we move on and onto our final friendly, Napoli!
Sporting Lisbon 1-0 Olympiakos
Olympiakos : Carroll, Torosidis, Papazoglou (82' Manolas), Siovas, Holebas, Maniatis, Fejsa (82' Modesto), Abdoun (70' Fetfatzidis), Mitroglou (70' Mirallas), Lykogiannis (60' Tatos), Djebbour
Tonight saw our first match of the season at Karaiskaki with ourselves facing Malaga. Malaga had made quite an impression in La Liga last season due to their spending so they would be a good test for our team and a taster for proper european football this year. As for our team, we were using the final cut of players in the match and although we were using a mixture of first and second team, we were almost at full strength for the game.
Unfortunately despite starting the game off quite well, we ended up conceding in only the third minute of the match. Malaga had managed to grab a corner in their first attack of the game, the ball was crossed into the box only for Papazoglou to cleanly head it into his own net (!) and open the scoring for the Spaniards. The early goal didn't seem to dampen our spirits though and we were soon on the attack again, winning a couple of headers and having a number of chances on goal.
Malaga also had chances of their own and won a second corner in the 18th minute which was successfully defended this time. They were getting more ball possession but this could be expected. In our favour, we continued to apply pressure to the Spaniards and won more corners through the half but couldn't convert them successfully. When we did attack, we did it with a lot of flair and plenty of dribbling. We just couldn't get the ball into the box though...!
At the back end of the first half, Malaga made another couple of attacks but they were closed down and dealt with by our defence easily enough. At the other end we had better chances through Torosidis, Mitroglou and Siovas but still no equaliser. We seemed to have thrown a considerable amount at their goal but just couldn't get the ball on target. As the half ended we left the field one goal down, a pretty undeserved scoreline all things considered.
After two quick changes at the restart, we began the second half with the same attacking outlook that we saw in the first half. In the event though it was the Spaniards who came close to scoring first in the second half. The ball needed be cleared off the line on one occassion and Malaga had a couple of corners consecutively with a direct shot on goal needing to be pushed behind by Megyeri. We did get the qualiser though in the 56th minute when Lykogiannis made a low pass from the left and Mitroglou fired the ball in from close range. The equaliser pushed Malaga back into life and they started to come at us more from this point. They did manage to get the ball in the net but this was quickly ruled out as offside.
At the other end of the pitch we took the lead through a beautifully worked counter attack. Abdoun on the right, sliding the ball through to Mitroglou who knocked it on the run past the keeper and low into the net to claim his second of the match. More attacking moves followed the restart of the game and urged on by the crowd it appeared that we were in control of the game. We didn't have it all our way, Malaga having a shot on goal in the 76th minute but we were playing well at this point.
With the game in the last fifteen minutes, we had a shot on goal deflected from the post (Lykogiannis) and the ball shot against the keeper (Modesto) before Manolas scored the fourth goal of the game. Malaga replied with a goal of their own almost instantly and so with the score at 3-2 the match was set for an exciting final 10 minutes. One of the better moments was when Panetlic beat the defence, passed to Djebbour - who rounded the keeper and then promptly missed the open net (poor sod!). Ten seconds before the end of the extra time we conceded a final goal to draw the game - the defence were left flailing after coping with a shot on goal and didn't deal with the follow up header from Fernandez.
The game ended 3-3 then and it was... an interesting match. A stupid mistake for the opening goal, we then seemed to miss 50 chances to finally take the lead in the second half to end up throwing it away with a final piece of sloppy defending.
Olympiakos 3-3 Malaga
3' Papazoglou (og)
Olympiakos :- Megyeri, Torosidis (63' Manolas), Papazoglou (74' Modesto), Siovas, Holebas (90+3' Zaradoukas), Fejsa (89' Karagounis), Maniatis (63' Ibagasa), Tatos (46' Djebbour), Abdoun (79' Pantelic), Fetfatzidis (46' Lykogiannis), Mitroglou (79' Vlachodimos)
Photos and videos below...
Iosif Daskalakis has been transferred to Superleague club Veroia. The simple statement from their website read :-
"Veroia announces the acquisition of Iosif Daskalakis for one year".
Daskalakis was disappointing for us and was considered fourth choice after the arrival of Gianniotas.
Our latest friendly game took place against Dutch side Willem II. This game took place in the later stages of our preparation and so we were looking to play well tonight but also it would serve as a final check for Jardim. After this game, hopefully he would know which players would be cut from the final team for certain.
As for the game itself, we scored early on after a 5th minute run into the box from Lykogiannis and a low pass to Djebbour who tucked the ball into the net. The game was well fought over the pitch without either side getting much of an advantage and possession being largely even. Unfortunately our defence switched off after a free kick in the 23rd minute and one of their players was left totally unmarked just at the time when he received the ball. There was very little which Carroll could do when the ball was shot past him and into the net.
The goal seemed to spur the Dutch onwards and they started to get the advantage with the ball winning a second goal in the 36th minute with a headed shot. We were not looking very good on the pitch at this point and so Pantelic was introduced to provide more attacking options. We didn't create anything else of note in the first half and so went into the break a goal down. This wasn't a brilliant half of football for us despite the goal and we hope for something better after the break.
Once the match had restarted and we had made two changes, we started to push a little harder up the pitch. We still looked very flaky on the defence however and Willem were able to get chances on goal all too often. Even with another three changes we were too often on the defensive and came close to conceding another goal in the 60th minute from a header which deflected off the upright. At the other end, Fetfatzidis had a chance in a shot on goal but found his chance deflected off the keepers legs.
We got an equaliser in the 64th minute from a point blank ranged shot from Djebbour and followed this up with more chances on the Dutch goal. We were still having some difficulty in keeping hold of the ball, especially in the middle of the pitch but we were looking more aggressive now. Willem made a couple more chances on goal but we went in front in the 83rd minute after Mitroglou was dragged down in the box by the keeper and a penalty was awarded. Pantelic converted the penalty and this sealed the win for our team. There were no other real chances of the game and so it eventually finished 2-3 in our favour. We now move onto our friendly against Malaga (assuming this takes place as the Malaga squad is refusing to come over unpaid wages).
Willem II 2-3 Olympiakos
83' Pantelic (p)
Olympiakos : Carroll, Karagounis (42' Pantelic; 89' Chumbinho), Manolas (60' Torosidis), Potouridis (60' Maniatis), Dielna (60' Holebas), Fejsa (46' Papazoglou), Ibagasa (46' Siovas), Vlachodimos (60' Diogo), Fetfatzidis (77' Abdoun), Lykogiannis (77' Tatos), Djebbour (77' Mitroglou).
Petar Grbic has agreed to move on loan to Ukranian side Karpaty Lviv for the season. He had spent last year on loan at Levadiakos and then Hapoel Beer Shiva but didn't manage to appear in more than half a dozen games for either team. Grbic wasn't included in our pre-season training being surplus to requirements and this move will be in his interest.
The deal has not been confirmed by either club as yet but should be finalised within a day or so.