Everything leading up to kick off was looking good for us. We came off a solid away win over the weekend, PAOK stumbled at home, the atmosphere inside OAKA was fantastic, Vierinha would not be playing… how could our players not take advantage of the prime opportunity to nail a few past our rivals!
Some players deserve some credit for today however there are many who simply didn’t pull their weight on the pitch or failed to contribute anything worthwhile to the match. Jimenez will probably also recieve some criticism (for leaving Blanco off till later, not getting Michel in sooner perhaps…) though with the performance of some players such as Scocco and Baha, there is really only so much blame the coach can take…
Scocco…. I really do not want to see him start for a while. AEKMAN74 suggested leaving him as a sub till later in the game for the next match and I would have to agree (depending on how the score is going). He refused to distribute well today when he had the chance, held on for far too long and simply failed to produce much of anything worthwhile. Same goes for Baha… I would rather have seen Blanco on from eariler.
Libe also did not play as important a role as I would have liked to have seen. He didn’t provide much of an attacking threat and his passing was not as effective as usual. However, Libe being the living legend that he is, will never receive a negative word from me… the guy is not getting any younger, has played many games already this season, and has already contributed more than many others on the team…
Burns was probably our most dangerous player going forward… made many runs with his speed and was almost always involved in every attack from the right. He keeps on impressing me and I hope to see this keep up.
Our midfield did its job for the most part. We controlled the middle of the pitch for most of the match while PAOK simply sat back (as we were all expecting). We were poor when they countered (however the defense can also take the blame for that) but other than that I feel our midfield did what was needed of it.
Our defense was shaky at times. They weren’t pressured often but almost every time they were led to PAOK coming very close to scoring. Thankfully Saja was alert today.
As for the match itself, what can I say. We controlled things really however our attack was simply not producing. Papa Bouba however hit the cross bar twice from corners though really those were probably our two best chances of the match. PAOK also received two red cards yet despite playing with two more players we simply could not break through and get the ball in the net. Sure, the ref didn’t call a penalty for us, and the extra time was far too short, but we have nobody to blame for this result but ourselves.
We go to Toumba with a 0-0. At least we didn’t concede. In reality, this PAOK team is very much for the taking. We get one goal and things could very well go our way. I certainly never expected PAO to show up and score three against us, but they did, and nothing is stopping us from doing the same.
We face PAOK again this weekend at OAKA for the Championship. Im praying for a win here… not since December of last year have we won at home!
Also, our handball won an important league match today bringing us one step closer to the Championship! Well done guys!!