Well, all I can say is we were lucky. PAO had a few incredible chances to score a few goals but were either stopped by the post or Arabatzis. But, they never should have won in the first round against us so it’s all good 🙂
We started without Makos which was great news. Our starting XI was Arabatzis, Araujo, Majstorovic, Geraldo, Karabelas, Manduca, Kafes, Jahic, Blanco, Scocco, and Djebbour. Arabatzis made some critical saves and generally had a good game. There was very little he could do to change the outcome of the match.
Araujo was on and off. He controlled Leto with ease but let some players slip by and was a little dangerous at times.
Majstorovic, though he made a few mistakes (accidents really, not his usual sloppiness) which could have led to goals, was a great defender for us today. Cisse, who I was very worried about before the match, did very little, partly because of Majstorovic. Geraldo also had a good game. There was little else he could do, but he defended well.
Karabelas was our problem today. Against other attackers, he was fine, but when he came up 1 0n 1 with Salpigidis he was left trailing behind him on every occasion. This, unfortunately, led to many dangerous chances being created for PAO but with some luck few of them went in.
Our midfield could have been better. After the first ten minutes they died down and could not string together simple passes. Kafes was alright, as was Manduca, but Jahic needed to raise his game to a higher level. Perhaps it was just me but I wasnt too impressed with him.
Our attack was dangerous at times, when they managed to get the ball. I would say Djebbour was our most dangerous man up front and had some great chances. However, he hardly ran and rarely chased the ball or applied pressure, unlike Scocco or Blanco. Scocco did not have a fantastic game and I was expecting him to be more involved in this derby. He might have been trying but he rarely managed to create the pressure he normally does despite PAO’s weak defense.
Blanco was playing completely out of position. I’m not sure yet if he was instructed to do so but he rarely ventured forwards and rather played a right midfield position. He helped out defensively however what I was pleased to see from him was some nice balls he sent occasionally for Djebbour which passed PAO’s defense with ease.
Generally, it really wasn’t a fantastic performance, not compared to what we saw in Karaiskaki. Our players started strong and were winning each ball. We were rewarded with an early goal in the 9th minute after a mistake from Katsouranis and we had possession for much of the time. However, shortly after our goal things died down for us and PAO began controlling the game. They scored from a free kick outside our box and created a few chances after that as well which (luckily for us) couldn’t find the back of the net. Salpigidis was their most dangerous man up front and was involved in almost every opportunity for them.
Honestly, we were lucky but it’s fair considering we should have gotten one point when we played them earlier in the year.
The referee was terrible. PAO should have gotten a red after some dangerous and disgusting tackles by Vyntra. Many questionable calls from the ref, mostly in PAO’s favour. I’m not making excuses here but there was plenty of diving from the PAO players which led to many dangerous free kicks outside our box.
Our subs today were Makos (not his worst game, he managed to do a bit), Lagos (showed promise but maybe he was a little to excited and not concentrated enough), and Guerreiro (who came on for Scocco though I would have taken off Blanco).
Well, one point. Three would have been better but really, this is probably our hardest game of the year (except perhaps PAOK away). Fortunately, those team’s nearest us in the standings all messed up this weekend. Aris lost to Xanthi (!), Tripolis lost to Levadeiakos, and Atromitos lost to PAOK. We now sit in the fifth, one point ahead of Tripolis.
Our basketball team won away to Trikala this weekend. Our first away win this season, and the first game with our new coach. We didn’t play great for much of the game but in the fourth quarter we really picked things up and Trikala could do little to hold us back.
Our volleyball team also beat PAOK, 3 sets to 2.