It wasn’t the prettiest of wins, but we came out of this derby with all three points.
The first half was a very poor one. We played with little passion, and little focus on the game. It was a sloppy game, though we did manage to create a couple of decent chances. Fortunately for us though, PAOK weren’t having a great game either. Had they been in better form though, they likely could have scored a goal or two in that first half.
Some more sloppy mistakes came from Saja in the first half, one which was almost an exact replay of a mistake against Kavala. Fortunately, he tightened things up as the match progressed.
We turned things around in the second, when we started to play with much more passion. It was clear the players came out of the dressing rooms at the start of the second half going for nothing but a win. Our game tightened up, and we began attacking more. Eventually, our goal came, after Scocco walked easily past the PAOK defense in order to set up Manduca for an easy tap in.
Despite the improvement in our play during the second half, we did not play nearly as tight as we should be playing. Though we won, I think a large part of that is due to the fact that PAOK were quite bad rather than us being quite good.
Leonardo played and once again he provided very little. Scocco, who received the MVP award, had a fine game, and had an incredible shot denied by the upright.
AEK also had an incredible chance denied by Chalkias who produced an incredible save to prevent a header from going in for AEK.
Well, despite the relatively poor performance, we got the three points. A huge morale booster for the fans and the players. Now, we have to see what happens when we face Everton this week. If we win, we keep our chances of going to the next round alive. Personally, I think its possible, and the victory against Benfica illustrates this. It will be hard, but it can still happen.
Cirillo was applauded and cheered by the AEK supporters today. It was nice to see him clapping back, and it looked like he honestly meant it.