Panathinaikos 1-1 AEK
1-1 was the final score at today’s Playoff game against our Athenian Rivals. Honestly, considering this is probably the toughest match of the Playoffs for us, this really isn’t a bad result. We now have five points, and PAO have six (depending on how the Larissa-PAOK match turns out we will stay in second or move down to third but it is still quite early so we still have a chance of finishing high up).
We went up first after a nice Scocco freekick was placed out of reach of Galinovic. I actually missed much of the first half but PAO had some close chances, including a Salpingidis one on one which he fortunately missed. PAO also had two penalties (they were both the correct calls I believe, especially the first one) in the first half. Salpingidis had the first penalty shot saved however PAO managed to score the next one which gave them their lone goal of the match.
The second half saw a great performance by AEK. They came out and dominated much of the game with some great passing and some close chances. PAO on the other hand really seemed to fall apart in the second half, however they still managed to create some extremely close chances (many of which came from set-pieces).
Our defence managed to read and hold down the PAO frontline quite well (relative to how our defence has been playing lately without Kyrgiakos). This was quite a relief to me, since I though that we would see a much worse defence today. Alexopoulos and Majstorovic played centre-back, while Koutromanos played right back and Georgeas played left back.
Blanco had a fine game, with some close chances. Djebbour, on the other hand, did not impress. I was quite surprised when I saw Bajevic pull Blanco out rather than Djebbour, but perhaps he wanted to rest him rather than risk an injury in the last ten or so minutes (Scocco got injured near the end of the first and had to be taken off and replaced by Manduca, but I’m still not sure how serious the injury is).
Manduca, Kafes, and Nsaliwa all had good games, and all played critical roles in our midfield. Nsaliwa fed our players some nice passes, while Manduca moved the ball well and provided some nice crosses.
Had we held on to the win we would of been in a great position and that much closer to Champions League Football for next season. Unfortunately we couldnt hold on but still, as I said earlier, a draw at this match is not a bad result. We still have some tough games ahead but PAOK isnt in their greatest form so we could win this weekend away in Toumba.