We had our third match of the Champions League tonight with our fixture against Montpellier. A large amount of fans had made the trip from all over Europe in expectation of a win tonight and we hoped that the team would be able to match the fans dreams. A win here would set us up for an extended run in Europe whilst a loss could well prove to be quite disasterous and lead to the team finishing in fourth place. It was therefore of vital importance to win the match and get the three points here. In preparation of the do-or-die nature of the match, the team was obviously the strongest that could be employed whilst the bench was packed with impact substitutes.
won the first corner of the match in the second minute although we managed to clear the ball from our area. Unfortunately the French had a lot of the possession in the game during this early stage and we were largely fighting for the ball early on although we started to share time on the ball after the first ten minutes. A terrible defensive mistake by Contreras allowed Montpellier an opportunity from an indirect free kick on the edge of the box but we luckily saw the subsequent shot fly over the wall and out of play. Chances for our team were virtually non-existant in the opening fifteen minutes and we were pushed under a lot of pressure early on. We would need to improve dramatically if we were going to get any sort of result from the match.
We got our first real chance of the night in the 19th minute when a cross into the area just eluded the extended boot of Djebbour but after this chance we were back under pressure again. Another attack from us (a lone effort from Djebbour on the left) provided us with our first corners of the night but we couldn't make anything from them. Another attack from us two minutes later led to a close range shot on goal but unfortunately wide of the net. We were slowly improving but looked fragile on the defensive. Going forward our passing in general was not accurate enough and this was leading to a lot of lost chances in the Montpellier half.
The ball was being bounced around the midfield by both sides towards the end of the half. A dangerous run from Machado briefly promised an opportunity on goal but his shot was made too hard and too far from goal, floating over the net by some distance. The French, for their part were trying to build attacks through the wings but were being closed down and tackled effectively before they could really threaten us. The remainder of the half played out in this fashion and so the half finished 0-0. We would need to improve, especially eith our passing but our play at the end of the half was much better than our efforts at the start. The first 15 minutes were a very poor performance from us but at least we recovered and held our own after that.
Early in the second half Montpellier got the opening goal when Charbonnier managed to fire a goal from the front of the box and past Carroll. I can't really argue that the goal wasn't coming but it was disheartening to concede so early in the second half. The French made another attach a few minutes later but then we managed to counter get up the pitch and have a free header on goal from the edge of the box (Fuster)... and put it wide - shocking stuff! A following attack provided another corner for our team but the ball was cleared easily. Minutes later another promising situation build by Djebbour was lost when Machado was beaten to the ball. To try and turn the game around, Abdoun was introduced to the game, replacing Greco and not the underperforming Machado.
With the game slipping from our grasp it looked like we would need to change the system and bring on a second striker to make more chances, astonishingly though it looked like such a move wasn't going to happen. We continued with the same method of play but were having trouble in breaking through the Montpellier defence especially as they had brought on substitutes to protect their lead. We did eventually introduce Mitroglou to the game but at the expense of Djebbour. So we replaced both creative streaks in the team and didn't change the system. In the meantime, Montpellier came close to scoring again with an effort in the box but this time going wide of the net.
On the 72nd minute, we got the goal to equalise the game. A free kick from outside the area was passed into the area and hit by Torosidis into the net at close range. Perhaps we could escape this game with a result after all. (A stat taken at 74 minutes reads chances 14-4 and shots on goal 8-1 against us!!!). A corner for us gives a glimpse of a goalscoring chance before the ball is taken away and cleared from the Montpellier box.
We were now in the final 15 minutes of the match and if we were going to win this game then this was the time to introduce changes. However Leonardo Jardim didn't seem to agree and kept the team exactly as it was. The French were becoming more aggressive since conceding the equaliser and were now pressing for a second goal but luckily hadn't managed to effective break through our defence again. If perhaps we changed to a two striker system then we could create further chances of our own and we could possibly win the game? Such questions weren't going to be answered though as we stayed in the same formation and instead substituted David Fuster for Giannis Lykogiannis in the 88th minute. Perhaps Jardim had decided to play for a draw but it was disappointing to see such a lack of ambition from our side.
In the first minute of extra time though we managed to steal the game!!!!! Abdoun had fought for, and won the ball of the far right hand side of the pitch, leaving their defence exposed. A run into the box, a pass across the box and Mitroglou was left with an unguarded box and a wide open net at his mercy. Amazing, we've managed to grab victory directly from the jaws of a mediocre draw. ...and so the game ended. This was a real smash and grab victory and I don't really know how the heck we managed that but we've won and thats whats important. We looked so poor for lengths of the game and the statistics of the game are almost embarrassing to see but we've won!!!!
Montpellier 1-2 Olympiakos
Olympiakos : Carroll, Torosidis, Manolas, Contreras, Holebas, Maniatis, Modesto, Greco (60' Abdoun), Machado, Fuster (88' Lykogiannis), Djebbour (70' Mitroglou)
We played and beat our eternal clients earlier this evening in Basketball with a 60-64 scoreline. Perperoglou and Spanoulis were the big scorers for the team and Perperoglou in particular was the catalyst for our victory.
We played well from the off earning a 4 point lead at the end of the first quarter and then building on this to go twelve points clear at halftime. This massive lead allowed us enough space to see out the game and the result was another win for our team. We did make some mistakes in the third and fourth quarters allowing the Vazelos to close our lead but we had enough skill to complete the match without losing.
The scores were :-
1st Quarter : Poutanas Gios 14-18 Olympiakos
2nd Quarter : Poutanas Gios 28-40 Olympiakos
3rd Quarter : Poutanas Gios 45-54 Olympiakos
4th Quarter : Poutanas Gios 60-64 Olympiakos
Olympiacos : Hines 4, Low 5, Antic 7, Spanoulis 19, Perperoglou 12, Dorsey 4, Sloukas, Mavroidis, Printezis 6, Pap 9 , Mantzaris 5.
The team making the trip to France has been named. The players making the journey are :-
Goalkeepers (2) :
Defenders (6) :
Holebas, Manolas, Torosidis, Contreras, Modesto, Maniatis
Greco, Fuster, Fejsa, Abdoun, Lykogiannis, Machado, Diakite
Diogo, Mitroglou, Pantelic, Djebbour
One player will need to be cut from the team before the match on Wednesday. Absentees include Fetfatzidis, Siovas, Zaradoukas, Vlachodimos and Ibagasa.
On Wednesday we have our third Champions League match, this time against Montpellier (away). We have fans travelling to the game from all over europe, road trips from Athens, Belgium and Germany will be making the journey whilst other groups will be flying to the game as well.
As for the game, we have a good chance to get a result here. If we can perform and grab the three points then we have a good chance to progress further in Europe. We then also have to get results at Montpellier at home along with Arsenal but a victory in France will set us up for advancing further.
After a break of a week for international games, we had a league match against Skoda Xanthi. Prior to the start of the game we had a ceremony for former striker and newly appointed club scout, Giovanni Silva De Oliviera. The crowd voiced their appreciation for the Brazilian at the small ceremony and we then moved onto the game proper.
The first chance of the match came for Xanthi with Marcelino taking a tight shot against the outside of the goal just 51 seconds into the game. Unfortunately (especially for a home match) Xanthi were matching us across the pitch for the opening ten minutes and we were having some trouble in creating effective chances in this period. We were capable of getting as far as the Xanthi box on occasion but were incapable of getting further for the minute and were being closed down in front of goal too often.
Our rather scrappy play continued into the half and despite our absolute dominance with regards to possession (70% at 20 minutes) we weren't creating the chances in front of goal. In fact it was Xanthi who won the first corner of the match after a run down our left wing caused more problems than it should have. To be fair though we grabbed a corner of our own just moments later and had our first opening shot on goal from Machado afterwards. Xanthi came forward a couple of times after this and kept pressurising our defence but we held our own for the moment.
Somewhat shockingly Xanthi managed to get 3 players on 1 during a counter attack down the pitch but luckily screwed up their final shot. By comparison we were looking very poor at going forwards. Finally however we managed to get the goal in the 38th minute and went into the lead. The goal came from a set piece lobbed into the box and met by the head of Manolas. Manolas had a great header past the keeper and into the net for the opener. The goal seemed to revitalise our team and we made a number of chances after this point, none of them successful but it was a much better sight after the rather tepid football seen earlier.
In the second half, we started off with a great chance courtesy of Djebbour and then another shot from Fuster which bounced off the underside of the crossbar before going out of play. The second goal was coming though and it duly fell to Jose Holebas with a low shot from the edge of the box which crept into the corner to double our lead. Djebbour grabbed a third goal for the team three minutes later after a free kick was prodded home at the far end of the net and our victory was now assured. The team had played so much better since grabbing the first goal and with so much more confidence. The goals were simply a result of our improved play.
The scoring wasn't finished however and Djebbour scored possibly the best goal of the game in the 63rd minute with a first time shot, over the keeper and into the back of the net. Fuster laying on the assist with a sublime pass and the team as a whole playing very well now. To help with the teams fitness and in preparation of the game against the French, two alterations were made to the team. As both Holebas and Machado left the pitch the crowd applauded their contributions enthusiastically.
Djebbour came close to the net for a third and final time before he was substituted whilst Xanthi tried to regroup after conceding four goals. Our final substitution of Djebbour for Vlachodimos allowed us to see the young winger in competitive action for the first time (and against his former club) and anticipation was clearly high as the crowd chanted his name as he came onto the pitch. For the game, we had final chances from Mitroglou (wide), Manolas (over from 3 feet out) and Vlachodimos (wide) before the final whistle. However after the game ended (3 minutes of extra time) the crowd sounded their appreciation on a great second half performance.
Olympiakos 4-0 Skoda Xanthi
Olympiakos : Carroll, Maniatis, Manolas, Contreras, Holebas (69' Torosidis), Modesto, Greco, Machado (69' Mitroglou), Fuster, Abdoun, Djebbour (78' Vlachodimos)
After todays training session, the team of 19 players has been announced for tomorrows match against Xanthi (5.15pm). One player will need to be cut from the squad for the match itself.
Goalkeepers (2) :
Defenders (4) :
Holebas, Manolas, Torosidis, Contreras
Midfielders (10) :
Greco, Tatos, Fuster, Modesto, Maniatis, Abdoun, Vlachodimos, Lykogiannis, Machado, Diakite
Attackers (3) :
Mitroglou, Pantelic, Djebbour
Giannis Zaradoukas, widely tipped to start the match, hasn't even made the squad!
We won our opening game in the Euroleague group stage with a victory over Spanish team Caja Laboral. We won the game after falling behind in the third quarter by 85 points to 81. Our top scorer was Printezis with 17 points ably assisted with Spanoulis with 16.
The game was a real to-and-fro match with ourselves being behind at the end of the first quarter, taking the lead at halftime, falling behind at the end of the third quarter before finally surging ahead in the final quarter.
Mantzouris and Spanoulis were our best players in the opening of the game with Sloukas and Printezis being good in the second quarter. Dorsey and Hines dominated the third quarter whilst the final period was marked by good performances by Perperoglou and Spanoulis.
The final scores were :-
Olympiakos 85-81 Caja Laboral
1st Quarter : Olympiakos 18-23 Caja Laboral
2nd Quarter : Olympiakos 48-37 Caja Laboral
3rd Quarter : Olympiakos 65-66 Caja Laboral
4th Quarter : Olympiakos 85-81 Caja Laboral
Olympiakos : Hines 6, Low 4, Antic 9, Spanoulis 16, Perperoglou 14, Dorsey 7, Sloukas 6, Mavroeidis 1, Printezis 17, Papanikolaou 5, Mantzaris
We had our matchday 6 tie tonight with us playing Asteras Tripolis at home. Its been a couple of weeks since my last report due to holidays but I'm back and writing again. This is our last superleague game before we take a weeks break for international duties and we really want to grab a win here to make it 6 victories from 6 games so far.
Onto the game though and it was Tripolis doing the majority of the attacking in the opening minutes although their long ball methods was easily ran out of play. We also helped break up their momentum with smart counter attacks whenever possible. After the first ten minutes we were getting more possession of the ball and starting to apply some pressure on the Asteras goalmouth albeit without any success.
We were still fighting for control of the game after the first fifteen minutes and our efforts on goal were being matched by Tripolis at the other end of the pitch. Our best chance of the game so far coming in the 20th minute from a free kick just in front of the box which required the goalkeeper to intervene and push the ball over the net. A following opportunity was cleared off the Tripolis line so it looked like, slowly but surely, we were getting closer to goal.
We continued with the pressure on the Tripolis goalmouth throughout the half but were having trouble in breaking through their defensive line. Our best chances were still coming from dead ball situations and not open play. On the wings, Machado had not been performing well and Ibagaza was being closed down in the centre too often so the playmakers were being reduced to the two defensive midfielders and Abdoun (who was trying to dribble all too often).
However two minutes before the break we got the goal we had been waiting for. An indirect free kick gave us the chance to make a shot on goal and up came Holebas for the shot. He absolutely spanked the ball and shot it into the goal like a bullet to give us the lead at halftime. That shot has to be the goal of the week if not the month - an total cracker of a shot!
Early in the second half we made two changes to the lineup to allow for tactical changes and a couple of slight knocks that the players had picked up. The game however had reverted to what was seen for long stretches of the first half - a lot of possession and runs up the field but very little final chances in the Tripolis area. Asteras for their part were getting a little more adventurous as they needed to equalise but we were coping with their occasional forays into our half of the pitch.
During the second half of the match, Asteras started to control the possession more whilst we changed to counter attacking once again but we were still coping with closing down their attacks. The defensive style didn't meet with the crowds approval though and they voiced their discontent. Especially as we weren't showing any sort of domination on the field at the minute.
We had a couple of chances on goal in the final 15 minutes of the match but so did Tripolis with a header ricocheting off the post in the 82nd minute. The opposition had another direct chance on the 85th minute but luckily Carroll deflected the ball off his feet with a diving save. We managed to hold onto the lead for the rest of the game and the match finished after four minutes of extra time. The crowd rightly booed the performance (despite the win) at the final whistle.
Olympiakos 1-0 Asteras Tripolis
Olympiakos : Carroll, Modesto, Contreras, Manolas, Holebas (50' Torosidis), Maniatis, Siovas, Ibagaza (50' Fuster), Machado, Abdoun, Djebbour (83' Mitroglou)
After the mornings training session, Leonardo Jardim announced the 19 players selected for tomorrows match. The players making the list are :-
Siovas, Holebas, Manolas, Torosidis, Contreras
Greco, Tatos, Ibagasa, Fuster, Modesto, Maniatis, Fetfatzidis, Abdoun, Machado
Mitroglou, Pantelic, Djebbour
Diakite, Diogo and Vlachodimos were not included whilst Papazoglou, Fejsa and Zaradoukas are not fit enough to take part in the game.
Well I'm back after a long day away in London. We had a good game as I'm sure that most of you would know by now. The scoreline really flattered Arsenal though and a 2-2 draw would have been on the cards if we were a little luckier. The Arsenal fans were non existant, it's amazing that for a stadium of more than 80,000 that they made hardly any noise. The only time we heard from them was when they scored or when they got close.
The police were also behaving like twats when we met up in London during the afternoon. They split us up and marched one group around the local park for some reason or other. Still, we expect the usual heavy handed stupidity and arrogant twattishness from Plod these days.
All in all, it was a good evening and we played very well. Maybe a few too many casual fans for my liking attended, you know the ones who don't shout, don't chant, don't enjoy themselves but all in all it was a decent time and we only lost with some bad luck.