A close call but in the end, a huge result
I think we have not yet understood how important Sunday's victory was. Not because we beat PAOK, in any case Οlympiacos has shown over the past few years that the team doesn’t have a real opponent in Greece. The victory was important because it was against EPO and their dirty actions. EPO decided to close the gates in Karaiskakis yesterday as a punishment for the pyro show of our fans against Panathinaikos. An unprecedent decision with purpose, and the purpose was to make our team vulnerable and spark a «civil war» among the players and fans. But Olympiacos was having none of it; the team stayed united and strong because it's a family.
Pedro martins started with his classic 4-2-3-1 formation with former PAOK player Garry Rodrigues taking the place of Onyekuru on the right wing. On the other side Lucescu started with the 4-2-3-1 formation without any specific surprise. From the beginning PAOK tried to play really offensively and press high in our home, something that proved a really serious mistake because they left a lot of free space in the centre and in the flanks. Olympiacos took the gift of free space with Garry Rodriguez, Masouras and baby Camara, who all looked dangerous on the counter attack. PAOK seemed trapped and the useless possession of the first minutes was key for olympiacos to really hit hard on the counter attacks and take control of the game. Everything went exactly how Pedro Martins wanted it to. In one of these counter attacks (22’) Olympiacos opened the score with baby Camara who was really everywhere on the pitch. After that Olympiacos pressed really high in the pitch and drove PAOK players to a lot of mistakes. In the 30’ minute El Arabi hit the crossbar following a Rodrigues cut back and 2 minutes later Masouras doubled the score for our team with the assist of excellent baby Camara following a good press on Esiti in midfield. A really terrifying 20 minutes from 20 to 40’ in which Olympiacos could score more goals, where the team had really good chances and played really nice football.
In the second half unfortunately Garry Rodriguez who had a really exciting full debut had to be substituted due to some injury which thankfully has proven to be nothing serious. Henry Onyekuru came onto the field and Olympiacos played more defensively without having any chances except baby Camara who hit the crossbar again for our team in the 52th minute. PAOK took control of the possession and Olympiacos stayed behind the ball waiting for the opponent. PAOK tried to press and without creating too many chances found a goal in the last minutes of the game with the Austrian forward Murg and also hit the crossbar putting real pressure on our defence. Olympiacos out of nowhere was in danger and was edging towards disaster. Pedro Martins immediately made 2 substitutions with Kunde and Mario Vrousai who managed to keep the ball outside the box and the match thankfully ended with the victory.
Olympiacos did a really good job in the first half having no problem against PAOK but with seemingly no apparent reason, lost control of the game in the second half and the important win almost slipped away. An overall good and solid performance from our team and also a excellent performance from our diamond from Guinea, Agiubou ‘Baby’ Camara who is improving from game to game. Garry Rodriguez had a promising debut and showed from the beginning what he is capable of. The big disappointment again was Henry Onyekuru who still seems of the pace and with these types of performances, doesn’t look like 5 million Euro well spent.