Dominant PAOK defeat Olympiacos
PAOK defeated Olympiakos comfortably 2-0 at the Toumba stadium, making a return to winning ways and remaining in the hunt for second place. The match was also historical in character, since it was the club’s 1000th victory in the Greek top flight.
The Double-headed Eagle made changes in personnel and in the system for the visit of Olympiacos. The coaching staff opted to line up in a 3-4-2-1 formation, adding Vieirinha in a trio of defenders alongside Ingason and Crespo , while Rodrigo and Baba were on the flanks. Schwab and Douglas composed the central midfield, while A. Zivkovic and El Kaddouri played just behind Swiderski the lone striker.
At the beginning of the match, PAOK faced a few difficulties in adapting to the new system, and Olympiacos attempted to take advantage and get an early goal through long balls forward over the top. However, after a quarter of an hour, PAOK seemed to settle and were able to up the the pace and began to penetratre behind the visitors’ defence.
The Double-headed Eagle attacked mainly from the left hand side, with Baba being very active. The first opportunity came with a powerful shot by Douglas in the 16th minute, to which Olympiacos responded immediately with a shot by Bruma which skimmed the crossbar on its way over just three minutes later.
PAOK showed high levels of concentration to press hard with patience, creating three great chances in the space of two minutes from 31st to the 33rd minute to take the lead. Initially, Vieirinha threatened with a direct free-kick which visiting goalkeeper Jose Sa saved, and the Portuguese shot-stopper then made an impressive block to deny Andrija Zivkovic, before Vieirinha again failed to find the net with a shot following a corner as the teams went into the dressing rooms at 0-0 at half-time.
The second half began in an ideal way for the Double-headed Eagle. Andrija Zivkovic took advantage of a poor clearance by Avraam Papadopoulos in the 49th minute and broke the deadlock with a thunderbolt of a shot to beat Sa and make it 1-0.
The goal raised the psychology of the PAOK players who won all the duels, entering strongly and decisively in each phase. In the 63rd minute, Omar El Kaddouri with an amazing ball took A. Zivkovic alone against Sa, he passed him and from a side position made it 2-0.
The 2-0 did not change, PAOK scored the victory number 1000 in its history in the Greek championship and continues the battle for second place. The goal boosted the home side’s confidence and PAOK began to win all of the one-on-one duels all over the pitch. And in the 63rd minute the crucial second goal came when El Kaddouri sent Zivkovic through on goal with a sumptuous defence-splitting forward pass. Sa rushed off his line to try and meet Zivkovic , but the Serb skipped past the goalkeeper before slotting the ball into an empty net from a tight angle to make it 2-0.
The Double-headed Eagle then set about managing the rest of the game flawlessly, allowing Olympiacos only one real scoring chance for the whole of the second half. Paschalakis and Baba, however showed the correct reactions when needed to in order to clear the dangert quickly.
The score did not change up until the final whistle, and PAOK celebrated their 1000th win in the Greek championship and continues to be in the hunt for second place in the standings.
Olympiacos: Sa, Holevas, Papastathopoulos, Papadopoulos (60’ Camara), Androutsos, Reabicuk (71’ Valbuena), Bouchalakis, M.Vila, Bruma (60’ Fortounis), Masouras (79’ Kaipers), El Arabi.