The English Olympiakos connection - - Οπαδική ενημέρωση
Κυριακή, 11 Μαρτίου 2012 19:21

Olympiakos 3-0 Aris

After our sub-zero temperature heroics in the Ukraine, we came back to our home in the Giorgos Karaiskakis stadium for our league match against Aris. Aris had been having some trouble ahead of the match with their own players refusing to train at the start of the week (unpaid wages). We on the other hand had just two and a half days to prepare for this match and there was the risk of fatigue amongst a couple of the team. Still, we hoped for a fine victory here and then we can move onto the game against Metalist.

Strong Opening
The tie opened with us having a chance on goal (along with two follow up chances) in just the first 20 seconds of the match. This high tempo start was followed with two corners and a shot from Ibagasa in the first five minutes itself. We were firmly in control of the game during this early period and Aris had to work hard to stop us running riot in their area. The Salonika team had one run into our half within the 13th minute of the game but this lone effort aside, this was all they managed in the opening 15 minutes of the match.

First Goal
Our domination continued and it was inevitable that we would score first. In the event, we had to wait until the 18th minute before Ivan Marcano headed in a cross from a corner but we almost doubled our lead with a Mirallas shot just two minutes later. Three minutes after that, Mirallas then shot a point-blank range effort wide from inside the box and we followed this up with a free kick from the edge of the area into the arms of the keeper. Abdoun and Modesto had more direct chances on goal for the team and it was an absolute mystery how we were only one goal ahead.

Sifakis Red Carded
Aris finally started to get themselves into the game at the 30 minute mark but even then we soon took over possession of the ball and went straight back onto the attack again. To their credit they did manage to win a free kick in a decent position during this portion of the match but then failed to do anything with it. During our attack, Sankara blatantly handled the ball in the box only for the referee to do nothing and wave play-on. We did get some retribution though when Abdoun grabbed the ball and rounded the keeper only to be dragged down from behind. Sifakis was rightly red-carded for the foul (replaced by Vellidis) whilst Holebas took the subsequent penalty and scored to finish off the half.

Second Half
In the second half, we had Abdoun intercept, grab the ball off a defender and take a shot on goal only for Vellidis to save his effort. We also had a number of corners but couldn't create anything worthwhile from them. Aris had their first corner of the match with after a shot on goal (incidentally also their first chance in the game). We did seemed to have slowed down though and we weren't pushing as hard on their goalmouth as we once were. Aris also had a second chance of the match with a header which went wide of goal.

Mirallas Scores
We did still push forward whenever circumstances dictated though and still gave Aris enough to be concerned about at the back. Our play though was not at the same frenetic pace as earlier but we did manage to score a third goal through Kevin Mirallas who managed to quickly poke the ball underneath the keeper in the 69th minute. This followed a quick pass into the box and Mirallas managing to break the defensive line. To spare his legs for the upcoming games, Mirallas was substituted soon afterwards and made way for Kazim-Richards.

In the final quarter hour of the match Aris came forward at us in an attempt to spare their blushes and to be fair to them, Soltani did at least make an attempt to do something for them. We looked competant defensively however and no matter how much they came at us we always managed to take the ball and go onto the offensive once again. The game came to a finish after three minutes of extra time and with it we had gained another win. The game should have been 5-0 or 6-0 if we had finished all of our chances but we could be content with a 3-0 scoreline and a very good display to go with it.

Olympiakos 3-0 Aris
18' Marcano
45+2' Holebas (p)
69' Mirallas

Olympiakos : Megyeri, Torosidis (80' Fetfatzidis), Mellberg, Marcano, Holebas, Makoun, Modesto, Ibagasa (62' Maniatis), Abdoun, Mirallas (72' Kazim-Richards), Diogo

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Σάββατο, 10 Μαρτίου 2012 22:12

Team Announced For Aris

The team has been picked for the match against Aris tomorrow. Of the team, Fuster and Papadopoulos couldn't make it through to injury whilst Carroll is also out so the announced team is as follows :-

Goalkeepers (2)
Megieri, Daskalakis

Defenders (7)
Torosidis, Modesto, Papazoglou, Marcano, Mellberg, Holebas, Maniatis

Midfielders (6)
Orbaiz, Makoun, Kazim-Richards, Abdoun, Ibagasa, Fetfatzidis

Attackers (3)
Mirallas, Djebbour, Diogo.

I'm hoping that Gavros print an expected lineup in tomorrows news and if they do, I'll update this topic to suit.
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Κυριακή, 04 Μαρτίου 2012 19:23

OFI 0-2 Olympiakos

Todays game came from a sunny Cretan city of Heraklion where we played OFI in the 23rd round of the Superleague. Leading into the match we had some minor problems up front with Pantelic out for the season and Djebbour suspended. We had a competant backup plan with Mirallas and Diogo being available though and no other problems were found prior to the match.
As regards the player lineup the only thing worth mentioning was that Diogo didn't start the match and instead the front three were Abdoun, Kazim-Richards and Mirallas. The OFI fans had filled up the stadium today proving that there really is only Olympiakos and anti-Olympiakos fans in Greece (OFI usually churn out less than 2000 fans in their home games).

First Half Begins
The game began with a few minutes of both sides fighting for the ball, we got away our first chance of the game although OFI quickly reacted and came close with a chance of their own in the 5th minute. In the early minutes of the game, neither side had made much impact on the game. We were trying to build chances slowly through possession whilst OFI were counter attacking very quickly. Mellberg was yellow carded in the 11th minute for accidentally kicking Kabantais in the head during a clearance and that summed up the opening quarter hour.

Fighting For Control
We still hadn't stamped our control on the game after the opening fifteen minutes and we were still fighting for control in the centre of the pitch all too often. We were getting plenty of possession though and some of that in very dangerous places so the game could have easily turned in favour for us at any time. OFI were still proving to be dangerous though with the odd run into our territory and we had to be a little careful as to close down any chances they could have created.

Holebas Scores A Stunning Goal
On the stroke of 30 minutes we had a period of good play with us winning a free kick in a good position and then a corner minutes later which led to a chance on goal but the subsequent header going over the net. The Cretan side soon recovered though and again we were left having to fight for the ball across the centre of midfield. We did get a couple of half decent chances with Torosidis getting perhaps the best until we finally grabbed the opening goal. Holebas took a wonderful shot from well outside the area which sailed over everyone and straight into the back of the net. My description doesn't do justice to this goal, it was an absolutely amazing shot. The goal signalled the end of the half. So we had got the goal and the advantage now and generally had a decent half albeit with not enough clear chances for my liking.

Kazim-Richards Scores
Initially we began the second half providing some pressure on the OFI goal and come close to scoring again before the ball is taken back to the middle of the pitch again. We get a second goal in the 54th minute courtesy of Colin Kazim-Richards who had a simple tap in to an open net after Abdoun had broken into the box and dragged almost all the defenders and the keeper onto him. It was a simple debut goal for the loan player but appreciated all the same.

Onto The Defensive
The second goal led to a change in strategy with us moving onto the defensive and attempting to soak up the Cretan pressure. This in turn led to OFI having more chances on goal and a 6rd minute shot which was hit hard and required some real skill from Megyeri to push onto the crossbar. We dealt with the increased pressure by counter attacking up the pitch whenever we could. We introduced Modesto for Ibagasa to help us out defensively and help soak up the pressure.

End Of The Game
In the final quarter hour of the game we continued to play the largely defensive strategy and this confounded OFI as they were unable to break through our defence in any serious numbers. When we did counter-attack up the pitch we dragged the entire Cretan side back up the field. We had a couple of shots on their goal from Mirallas but these were of low quality and either went wide or were easily picked up by the referee. This proved to be it generally for the match, with the game finishing after 3 minutes of extra time and with it, we had notched up another win.

OFI 0-2 Olympiakos
45' Holebas
54' Kazim-Richards

Olympiakos :  Megyeri, Torosidis, Mellberg, Papadopoulos, Holebas, Orbaiz, Makoun, Ibagasa (76' Modesto), Kazim-Richards, Abdoun (88' Fuster), Mirallas (85' Marcano)

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Παρασκευή, 02 Μαρτίου 2012 12:29

Preparations For OFI

After a break of roughly 10 days or so, we are back with the Superleague (after last weeks games were suspended in protest at the new laws in Greece). This Sunday sees us in Heraklion to play OFI at the old Theodoros Vardogiannis stadium.
OFI, being the pricks they are, have decided not to give our supporters any tickets for the match and so the thousands of Olympiakos in Crete don't get to see their team live. Theres no reasoning behind this ruling just a simple piece of vindictiveness from the club which is basically the feeder club for the Green whores.

Anyway, onto the game itself and we've been preparing for the game after the players returned from international duty. With the game in Kharkov coming up, it is unknown whether we will turn out a full strength side or not however we do have a couple of problems. 
Firstly in attack both Djebbour and Pantelic will be missing (Djebbour is suspended and Pantelic is out for the duration through injury). This means that we will be seeing Diogo leading the line (no bad thing) and Mirallas also being available. 

For the other players, unfortunately Kazim-Richards does not appear to have adapted to our style of play yet and will probably not start. Marcano is also fighting injury problems and will probably also be out. We are due to hold a training session today and one tomorrow when the team will be chosen.

Today (Saturday) we announced the team which would fly to Crete. The players announced were :-

Goalkeepers (2)
Megyeri, Daskalakis

Defenders (8)
Torosidis, Modesto, Papadopoulos, Papazoglou, Marcano, Mellberg, Holebas, Maniatis

Midfielders (6)
Makoun, Orbaiz, Fuster, Kazim-Richards, Abdoun, Ibagasa

Attackers (2)
Diogo, Mirallas

So plaudits for Marcano, Megyeri and Mellberg who all managed to recover in time for todays selection. We do have a mini crisis at the front but even so we have players who could have fitted in such as Monje. Incidentally our u-21 team lead the way today with a great 5-0 thrashing of OFI. Lets see if we can match their great performance.

Sunday update :-
Giannis Fetfatzidis flew out to Crete early this morning as a 19th member of the squad. This is an unexpected development and makes me wonder if someone has been caught ill.
Gavros newspaper hasn't published a lineup prediction so I haven't been able to comment on that prior to the game.
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Κυριακή, 19 Φεβρουαρίου 2012 19:37

Olympiakos 2-0 Panionios

After a short absence due to me being in Karaiskaiki last week and me missing the opening leg against Rubin due to the playing times, I have time to write a report. The match this afternoon comes from the Giorgos Karaiskakis stadium where we play Panionios on what looks like a reasonably sunny day. Due to the return game against Rubin coming up on Thursday and some suspension and injury problems we have employed a weaker lineup than what was possible but with the players being used, we should have been looking for an easy win today.

Opening to the game
We made a reasonably good opening with plenty of attacking early on in the match whilst Panionios spent the same time defending in depth and crowding out our players in the 6-yard-box. To compensate we won a corner or two but struggled to get anything on target during this time. We held onto the ball effectively in midfield and there was no action at all in our half of the field. Instead we saw yet another team visiting our stadium simply 'parking the bus' in front of goal and defending with all 11 players.

Missed chances
We had a great chance to open the scoring in the 17th minute when a free kick delivered into the net was put directly on the head of Makoun only for him to unluckily nod slightly wide. At the other end of the field, Panionios were starting to get the ball over the halfway line and even up to our own area at times although without any serious threat. We continued to keep a tight hold on the game but found the mass of Panionios defenders difficult to break through and clear chances on goal lacking. Diogo came close with another chance in the 27th minute but his shot from the edge of the box was wide and again he was having trouble breaking away from his marker.

Makoun scores the opening goal
So when the game was in the final 15 minutes of the first half we found that all the play was just around the Panionios box and they had reverted to the tactic of simply sticking all 10 outfield players firmly in the area. Some of our shooting in this period of play also left a lot to be desired but again, we simply could not manage to break into the area due to the mass of bodies.
Eventually however we managed to get the goal we deserved. Panionios player Antunes simply booted Abdoun in the stomach during one of the typical 'challenges' and in the resulting free kick the ball was played into the area. At the end of the ball was Makoun and he managed to nod the ball into the net and open the scoring and hopefully open up the Panionios defence who would now have to attack to even get a point from the match.

Diogo grabs the second
The second half initially saw chances for both sides before we scored a second goal courtesy of Diogo. In this goal, Abdoun had broken into the area from the left and managed to get as far as the left hand side of the post before a chip over the goal allowed Diogo to get his head firmly on the all and to head it cleanly into the net. The second goal allowed us to consolidate our hold on the game and we continued to create chances even after the game restarted. We had a chance to score a third goal shortly afterwards but our pressure never managed to turn into a clear cut chance on goal.

End of the match
The game continued in the same vein with ourselves having full and total control of the game and Panionios totally ineffectual. At this stage of the game however we had changed our style of play to be a little more defensive and although this did let the Nea Smyrniots back into the game a little , they never created anything of note. Well I say this but it was difficult to see what exactly was going on when the Novasport stream kept cutting out and basically playing up.
In fact, the stream got so bad I had to give up and follow the game on the radio. Sorry about that....

Olympiakos 2-0 Panionios
40' Makoun
50' Diogo

Olympiakos : Megyeri, Torosidis, Papadopoulos, Marcano, Holebas, Orbaiz, Maniatis (71' Fuster), Kazim-Richards, Abdoun (85' Fetfatzidis), Makoun, Diogo (80' Djebbour)

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Κυριακή, 19 Φεβρουαρίου 2012 12:18

Potential Lineup For Panionios

In preparation for todays game against Panionios, we announced our team of 18 players last night. The team announced consisted of :-

Goalkeepers (2)
Carroll, Megyeri

Defenders (7)
Torosidis, Potouridis, Papadopoulos, Papazoglou, Marcano, Holebas, Maniatis

Midfielders (6)
Fetfatzidis, Makoun, Orbaiz, Fuster, Kazim-Richards, Abdoun

Attackers (3)
Monje, Diogo, Djebbour

In addition to this, Gavros newspaper has made its best guess on the expected lineup. Gavros is usually not too far from the correct lineup so their prediction is listed here.
In goals we are expected to see Megyeri whilst in front of him there is a back four of Torosidis, Papazoglou, Papadopoulos and Holebas. In midfield the two central midfielders are to be Orbaiz and Maniatis and in front of them we have Kazim-Richards on the right wing, Abdoun on the left wing and Fuster in the attacking midfield role. Djebbour completes the lineup as the lone attacker.

Obviously this is a best guess on the part of Gavros and I suspect that we'll be seeing Marcano rather than Papazoglou but it's a good start.

Also it turns out that Maniatis is suffering with flu, expect to see Makoun instead then.
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Κυριακή, 12 Φεβρουαρίου 2012 21:02

No report for AEK - 10th February

I didn't write a report for the Friday night match as I was in Piraeus at the time. It was a very eventful 48 hours for me and I have had :-
  • The match dates changed - New flight tickets
  • Snow in England
  • Delayed flight
  • Strikes in Greece - Taxi from Airport (€€€€)
  • Stalked in the park next to SEF by some potential mugger
  • Pakistanis/Afghans fighting in Piraeus
  • Thunderstorms in Athens
  • Dense fog on the drive home
...but it was all worthwhile to witness us thrash the Turkoi by two goals to nil. A very intense trip but totally satisfying!
Thank you to all my friends who made a huge effort to see me and make me feel welcome.
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Κυριακή, 05 Φεβρουαρίου 2012 22:26

Voulgaroi 0-2 Olympiakos

Tonights match was a tough old match for us - away to the Voulgaroi in the Toumba bourdello. We had the usual problems with injuries leading into the match but could look forward to putting out a reasonably decent lineup on the field. The vazeloi lost their game last night so a victory would have seen us close to just 2 points behind them. We therefore needed a good performance, and more importantly a win, to maintain the pressure on Poutanas Gioi.

Abdoun opens the score
The game wasn't even a minute old before we took our first chance on the opposition goal with a shot from Mirallas flashing across the face of the goalmouth and another shot from Maniatis taken from distance. Ibagasa also had a cracking shot on goal rebound from the crossbar before the ball was finally bundled across the goal in the 5th minute by Abdoun. Following on from Ibagasa's amazing shot, we forced the ball into the box via Djebbour only for the ball to bobble free, Abdoun was available to knock it over the line and open the scoring. Abdoun showing the hostile crowd the club badge as he wheeled away.

Mirallas doubles the lead
The game settled down after the first frantic five minutes and we were then content to allow the opposition some possession although we ensured that  they never had any real chances on goal. We then counter-attacked on the break and this led directly to our second goal when Mirallas dribbled directly through four Voulgaroi defenders to plant the ball in the far side of the net and double the lead. After the game restarted we went back to the counter attack and pressure style of play, breaking up the attacks and then stealing the ball and dragging the opposition back up the pitch.

Keeping possession
As the half continued, the opposition were finally getting closer to our goal and had two chances to grab a goal back in the 30th minute although our defence held firm for the moment. At the other end though we also came close to scoring with a point blank shot from Djebbour although their keeper intercepted the ball before he could correctly connect with the ball. Apart from these chances, the remainder of the half was very muted. The Voulgaroi were very cagey in going forward and that suited us fine at that time. The only exception to this was right at the end of the half when the opposition won a free kick in a good position and there was a brief goalmouth scramble before we cleared the ball.
The half finished with the sound of the home supporters jeering their team off the field.

Second Half
With the opening of the second half, we initially saw the opposition try and get forward with the ball whilst we went back onto the 'pressure and counter' style of play that we saw at the end of the first half. We were very successful in closing down the attacks even though Ivic was clearly providing come creativity for their team. Nevertheless, we continued to play well and even when they did eventually get forward and have a shot on goal, Megyeri made one of the best stops of the game at close range.

Change to Formation
We made a change to the formation to help close down their players more often, Ibagasa making way for Torosidis. This small change changed our teams dynamics making us more defensive but also helping us by also not letting the opposition get anywhere close to our goalmouth. From this moment onwards, the Voulgaroi hardly got into our area and were left impotent on the field. Opposition dickhead Lazar let his frustration get the better of him and received a straight red for a foul and then dissent against the referee. Bizarrely the homosexual supporters applauded his sending off and the problems that would cause for his team.

Kazim-Richards makes debut
Anyway now in the last fifteen minutes of the match we got our first chance to see Kazim-Richards up close. First impressions of the player are that he is ok, obviously unused to our style of play but at least willing to take players on with his dribbling. He came close to grabbing a goal on his debut but found the timing a little out and couldn't get a strike away before the keeper intercepted. We never made any other chances and the Voulgaroi were truly ineffectual throughout so the match ended 0-2 away to us.

The win here kept the pressure on Poutanas Gioi (who truly screwed up against Levadiakos despite the referees best wishes) and takes us to within 2 points of the top of the league. The early goal killed off the opposition and ensured our win today. We can now look forward to our game against the Turkoi on Friday evening although I won't be available to give a report on that particular match.

Voulgaroi 0-2 Olympiakos
5' Abdoun
18' Mirallas

Olympiakos : Megyeri, Modesto, Mellberg, Papadopoulos, Marcano, Maniatis, Orbaiz, Abdoun, Ibagasa (61' Torosidis), Mirallas (77' Kazim-Richards), Djebbour
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Σάββατο, 04 Φεβρουαρίου 2012 17:14

Team Announced For Voulgaroi

The team for the game against Voulgaroi has been announced in advance of tomorrows game.  The players making the trip to Salonika are :-

Megyeri, Carroll.

Modesto, Maniatis, Papadopoulos, Mellberg, Marcano, Holebas, Torosidis.

Fuster, Orbaiz, Makoun, Ibagasa, Abdoun, Kazim-Richard.

Pantelic, Mirallas, Djebbour.
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Σάββατο, 28 Ιανουαρίου 2012 22:09

Olympiakos 3-0 Ergotelis

We faced Ergotelis in tonights matchday 17 game from the Karaiskaki stadium. This match came at the end of a week which had seen us underperform against Xanthi but then thrash Panionios three days ago. It had to be seen how we would react for this game but Ergotelis had been underperforming all season and should have been ours for the taking.
We had the usual problems with injury on top of an already thin squad and we had to combat this by playing the same squad (largely) yet again, with the exception of Diogo who was employed on the left wing (?!!?).

First Half
Apart from two early corners, the opening of the game was initially muted, with both teams fighting over the ball in the centre of the pitch. We did however have a direct shot on goal from Pantelic following a mistake from the Cretan defenders who allowed him to fire a shot away. This attempt proved to be an inspiration to our side who then upped their game and made several attempts on goal including a good headed chance from Diogo which unfortunately went wide.

Growing Frustrations
With our attacking play now established, we continued to make chances in and around the Ergotelis goalmouth whilst the Irakleio side repeatedly made panicked and desperate clearances from the box. Ergotelis had once chance on goal during this time and even then we cleaned up easily enough. As the half went on though, Ergotelis were starting to get further and further upfield when they had possession of the ball. We needed a goal to calm things down and restore some order in the team, the goal just wasn't coming though.

Poor Quality Play
The Cretan's rather desperate defence in the final third of the pitch seemed to hold firm and we just weren't creating the chances through the centre of the field. It was looking more encouraging down the wings but still not as good as we wanted to see. Having said this, Pantelic missed two close range chances but in his defence was being tightly marked at the time. We were still drawn at 0-0 as the halftime whistle went and needed to improve in the second half if we were to win this.

Heiblinger Dismissed
The second half started off a lot better for us with several (albeit unsuccessfull) chances being made around the Ergotelis box including a header from Pantelic passing inches wide. Maniatis also had a shot pass wide but we soon started to lose our sharpness around the box and revert to the frustrating style of play we saw in the first half. Misplaced passes and poor, staid creativity. The only thing in our favour was the 56th minute dismissal of Heiblinger for a second yellow card. Surely Ergotelis couldn't keep a clean sheet with only 10 men on the pitch.

Pantelic Scores The Opener
The quick answer to this question was an emphatic 'No!' as we scored within 2 minutes of the dismissal. Pantelic in this case getting the last touch of a cross into the box following a corner. This was followed by a second dismissal for Ergotelis and they were then down to 9 men remaining on the field.

Scoreline Trebled And The Game Won
Mellberg was the second player to score for us (header from a lobbed pass) but after this, we made surprisingly little in front of goal and even Ergotelis seemed surprised as they managed to get the ball down the pitch on a couple of occasions. We did eventually grab the ball back from the opposition but never looked like a team with a killer instinct, maybe because we knew the game had already been won. Only a couple of players looked like they still cared about the performance, Maniatis being the main one. Fetfatzidis sealed the win in the 90th minute with a solo run and shot at the edge of the box.

Well, we won and I guess thats the important thing but we looked indifferent for long stretches of the game. Even when we had a two player advantage we never looked like a team in full control of the game. The most annoying aspect was probably that we looked like not scoring in the game Heiblinger was dismissed and the dynamics of the game were altered.
Props to Pantelic, Mellberg, Diogo and Maniatis but at least we won.

Olympiakos 3-0 Ergotelis
58' Pantelic
64' Mellberg
90' Fetfatzidis

Olympiakos : Megyeri, Modesto. Mellberg (83' Papazoglou), Papadopoulos, Marcano, Orbaiz, Maniatis, Ibagasa (69' Makoun), Abdoun (74' Fetfatzidis), Diogo, Pantelic

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