Tonights game against Doxa Dramas came from the Kaftanzogleio stadium in Salonika. This has been designated the home stadium for Doxa Dramas this season even though the Drama fans had trouble in filling two banks of seats. We had not asked for any tickets to this match and so the stadium was largely empty for tonight.
Doxa Dramas were in no real shape to face us and couldn't even manage to name 7 substitutes for the game. Incidentally it was interesting to see two former OSFP players on the wings for Dramas - Soiledis and Katsikogiannis. Surely a whitewash was on the cards?
The game was only 28 seconds old when we had our first proper chance of the game - Mirallas poking the ball past Dino Seremec in the Doxa goals but seeing his shot wide. This initial move aside, Dramas quickly recovered and fought for the ball across the midfield ('fought' being the operative word when considering some of the tackling). After 10-12 minutes, we were still playing for the ball and had made a couple of chances but not scored as yet.
Despite the promising opening then, we didn't manage to score in the early part of the match and Doxa were dealing with our attacks although with some desperation. For ourselves, we weren't playing poorly and a lucky break would have eaasily have given us the opening goal and the lead. As it was though, Doxa were clinging onto the clean sheet more by luck and desperation. As time wore on, we still had trouble in opening the scoring although it must also be admitted that we were looking more indifferent as the half wore on.
We continued to attack in the game, again and again but we didn't look like a team which had gelled properly in the first half. Some of the moves, passes and runs were at odds with each other and Dramas were managing to intercept them and break up our attacks. This was leading to frustration amongst our players and some even poorer play. We needed the halftime break to regroup and sort ourselves out for the second half. So as halftime arrived, it was a very frustrating 0-0 scoreline that we faced.
Prior to the second half, we made two changes to freshen up the team and the result was some better play in the early part of the half. Doxa were still fighting for the ball over the pitch but at least we were looking a little better when on the attack. Unfortunately we were still having trouble in creating proper chances on goal with perhaps our best attempts coming in the 60th minute from a corner with a header deflected against the upright and Djebbour offside for the follow up. We had a few corners at that particular moment but failed to capitise on any of them.
With our attacks making no headway and Dramas still defending well, we started to push harder on the Doxa goalmouth and started to shoot from longer range without any great success. We also brought Monche on to provide even more firepower up front to help break through the mass of Doxa players. Despite this, we continued to have trouble and Dramas were simply 'parking the bus' by this point with only one player upfield when we attacked.
Nothing To Show
In the last fifteen minutes of the game, our quality of play had reduced down to first half levels and the opposition, perhaps sensing this, made a couple of counter attacks which briefly threatened but were soon dealt with. It wasn't the Doxa chances which we needed to be bothered with though. The team looked to have lost its shape and the passing and shooting had become ineffective. By this time, it would have taken either a lucky break or a piece of individual skill to break the deadlock. In the event we had neither, the game finishing after 3 minutes of extra time.
This was a very disappointing result for us and it seemed to me to be largely due to the passing which was woeful and the teamplay which was poor throughout. We could have perhaps scored on another day but we just couldn't manage it today. 1 point!!!!
Doxa Dramas 0-0 Olympiakos
Olympiakos : Megyeri, Torosidis, Papadopoulos, Mellberg, Marcano, Maniatis, Makoun (71' Monche), Fuster (46' Yeste), Fetfatzidis, Mirallas, Pantelic (46' Djebbour)