We played our postponed game with Ilioupoli this afternoon and managed to win the game with a late header taken from Marko Pantelic.
The first half started with the 150 home fans of Ilioupoli being heavily outnumbered by over 1000 of our fanatical supporters. The pitch itself was not in a great condition but it was hoped that we would be able to cope with the state of the turf and gain the victory here in order to progress further in the competition. Our fans quickly turned the Aigaleo stadium into a mini-Karaiskaki with a great atmosphere and flares being displayed, providing further support to our players.
Our first real chance of the game came in the 10th minute when a neat counter attack from Giannis Papadopoulos linked us with Jaouod Zairi on the left wing. A run up the left from Zairi followed and then a cross into the box where Giannis Papadopoulos was waiting. Papadopoulos managed to get a head onto the cross but the ball fell to the side of the net and out for a goal kick.
After the first fifteen minutes, we had started to control the game but were having some real trouble in creating any chances worthy of noting. Somewhat worryingly our players started to fall back further down the pitch after a further 10 minutes and Ilioupoli started to get some chances (albeit minor chances) of their own.
A somewhat bizarre (and totally accidental) chance on goal was made by Galitsios at 30 minutes in when he hit a long clearance out of our own area. The clearance travelled through the full length of the pitch and gave the Ilioupoli keeper such a fright that he had trouble in saving the ball correctly. This slight chance for us though was countered by Ilioupoli having a crack at our goal for themselves, stefanidis with the chance. Luckily Nikopolidis was available to save the goal and then ensure that the subsequent corner was easily dealt with.
Our final chance in the first half was created from a superb long shot from distance by our German left back Holebas. Holebas smashed the shot at goal and this proved to be so strong that Merama (the Ilioupoli keeper) couldn't save it and instead spilled the ball into Mitroglou's path for a second attempt at goal. Unfortunately Mitroglou failed to make his chances pay and the Spanish keeper managed to deflect the shot wide for a corner which was subsequently cleared.
The second half saw a much better style of play from ourselves and this was also helped by some of the changes which we made to freshen up the teams lineup with Pantelic replacing Zairi (51'), Dudu Cearense replacing Hurtado (60') and Fetfatzidis replacing Rommedahl (73').
As far as the goals themselves were concerned, we saw an increase in the chances made against the Ilioupoli goalmouth but nothing substantial to talk about. Mitroglou had another crack at opening our account but found Marama capable of withstanding his direct header on goal. Holebas also had another long range effort on goal later on in the half but with the same lack of success as his previous chance. In fact, Holebas was creating some good chances on the left and later broke into the box with a closer ranged shot on goal but again found that Ilioupoli's best player seemed to be the keeper who was having a chalmed life at the moment.
Unfortunately as the half went on, some of our shots on goal were becoming more and more desperate and although Nemeth and Giannis Papadopoulos took their efforts on goal, nothing was getting past Marama. Finally though, just as normal time was fading in the game, we got the winning goal for the game itself.
In this goal (made on the 87th minute!), Marko Pantelic had manouvered himself into the box as the ball itself was being played up the right wing by Giorgos Galitsios. Galitsios crossed the ball from the right hand edge of the box and our Serbian striker managed to get a clear contact on the ball with his head, nailing the goal with his head and literally smacking it past the keeper and into the back of the net.
The game itself finished just 6 minutes later (after 3 minutes of extra time) and we could now relax somewhat and look forward to facing Asteras Tripolis in the next round of the cup.
Olympiakos (Ernesto Valverde)
Nikopolidis, Galitsios, Potouridis, Modesto, Holebas, Zairi (51' Pantelic), Rommedahl (73' Fetfatzidis), Hurtado (60' Dudu), G.Papadopoulos, Nemeth, Mitroglou
Unused substitutes :- Pardo, Mellberg, Raul Bravo, Fuster