Well, I’ve calmed down since last night so I’ll attempt to explain in a clearer way what I saw last night.
Below is a video showing some of the main highlights of the match (it unfortunately misses the hit to Scocco’s chin so I’ll keep an eye out for that one).
Well, after the draw with PAOK many people were commenting on the lack of energy or passion from the team. It was obvious to all of us, but I had thought it was a one time thing. Unfortunately, yesterday’s match proved me wrong. Once again our players showed no interest in the game at all (except for Manolas and Saja). Remember in January when we got that famous win in Karaiskaki? AEK turned the pressure on that night and there was nothing Olympiakos could do. Fact of the matter is, this is the worst Olympiakos team in years. But when we’re sitting back, not marking, leaving so much space for them to maneuver, they end up looking ten times better than they actually are.
Its something I’ve experienced a number of times. Because of the poor organization in my school’s league we played many different opponents. Sometimes we would come up against a team that could not match us in any way. The final outcome of these games would normally be 5-0, 7-0. Our players had space and time, they were able to make themeselves look like mini Maradonas. Unfortunately, we would be violently brought down to reality when we came up against a tougher opponent. We would never have space, we could hardly win the ball and we would normally end up losing 2-0. This is how football is, and that is how it was last night. Olympiakos are a terrible team, and they’re defense is useless. We saw that last night the few times we pressured or whenever we had a set piece. We also saw that when they lost 2-0 to Aris. But it doesn’t matter if they have a superb defense or a below average one, if you aren’t putting any pressure on them it will never matter. We had the players on the pitch last night: Scocco, Djebbour, Manduca and Nemeth when they came on. These players, when playing to their full potential, can rip up any defense. Scocco showed that when we beat PAOK earlier in the season. Scocco was able to almost walk through what was considered one of the best defenses in Europe before setting up Manduca for a simple tap in. Had we applied that pressure last night we would have created numerous chances.
Our defense yesterday, like Olympiakos’, was terrible. However, ours was pressured, unlike theirs. Manolas deserves credit, even in a derby like this with all the pressure on him, he still remained calm and played like the experienced center back Majstorovic should be. Majstorovic on the other hand…. this guy needs to go! I appreciated him his first season here, alongside Kyrgiakos, but he is falling asleep out there on the pitch. Not only are his constant back passes to the keeper getting on my nerves, but he has failed to grasp the concept of man marking. Take a look at the first Oly chance in that vid, Majstro simply let Oscar walk right in. Alright, you may not get the ball each time, but at least make a challenge, pressure him, rather than give him so much space.
The first Oly goal, what was Majstorovic doing? I don’t know, gazing into space maybe? Thinking about what he had for dinner the night before? MARK YOUR MAN! Its a corner kick, you got a tall, powerful, experienced center back (Mellberg) going up, you don’t give him space because he will score! The first goal was easily avoidable, but Majstro didn’t even put in the required effort to at least try and prevent the ball reaching his fellow Swede.
The second Oly goal. What was Lagos thinking? I don’t know, I have no clue. But a four year old footballer would have marked that man better than he did. There is an Oly player making a run in the middle of the box, with nobody around him. What do you do? Get on him, pressure him, you dont let him walk through doing whatever he wants.
So, both goals could have been avoided with some simple defending. But aside from that, we were on pressure almost the entire night. We gave them space, we granted them possession by not pressuring them and winning the ball, obviously you will be pressured. Thankfully, their finishing was poor, Saja was awake, and luck was on our side (Oly had four posts in the match).
Ok, the Kafes penalty. I’m not denying anything, it was a dive. I don’t see contact, maybe somebody else does, I dont know. But what I do know is that Oly get away with those calls every week, any other team in the world gets away with those calls and in the end of the day, its the result that counts, so why shouldn’t we try and get a few that way? I hate to say it, but if everyone else is doing it, we have to get an edge also if we want to be competitive. Kafes knew what he was doing, he isn’t stupid. Even from the replay it looks close, without a doubt, and considering the ref had only a matter of seconds to make a choice, more than likely Kafes knew he would give him the penalty.
Anyways, even if you do want to complain about the penalty, what about the ones that were not called for us? Like I said, I’ll look for a video showing them, but the hit to Scocco’s face was a sure penalty, and I have no doubt about that.
Alright, our second goal. Nobody on this planet would say there was a foul in that play. The goal should have stood (but we all know the ref would not be doing his job if he allowed it), the score would have probably ended 2-2, and, while we still probably wouldn’t have a chance for CL football, we would have at least held Oly back. Now, we sit in the final playoff spot. A win against Aris this wednesday will help us move up, but after that I don’t know how long we can stay up.