Inches away from victory…
PAOK were the better side. The hosts had a clear plan and composure, and generally was on top for the majority of the match. However, in the final reckoning PAOK only managed to get a point from this rearranged Matchday 6 derby clash at the Toumba, with Christos Tzolis seeing a last-ditch effort come back off the woodwork to deny the Double-headed Eagle a win.
It was a match in which PAOK were called upon to provide some answers. And they did so impressively, playing some good football and dominating for long spells.
The home side look determined to try and get a win from the game, while Olympiacos seemed to have come to the Toumba more focused on defending, without pressing high up the pitch and taking risks.
The Double-headed Eagle almost took an early lead after two minutes but Thomas Murg failed to find the net from Schwab’s excellent pass. Olympiacos responded in the 13th minute with Μ’Vila denied first by Paschalakis and then by the post, while Kamara was also off target with a shot.
In the 28th minute Ingason threatened with a header, but Jose Sa reacted well and parried the ball for a corner. After 36 minutes, Paschalakis produced an impressive stop to thwart a Kostas Fortounis free-kick as the first half ended goalless.
In the second half, PAOK came out in even more determined mood, took control of possession and controlled the tempo, managing to open the scoring in the 51st minute. Sa pulled off a fine save to initially save Warda’s goal-bound header, but Ingason followed up to ram the rebound into the roof of the net to make it 1-0.
With confidence on their side, the home side looked for a second goal to kill off the game and lock up the points, but chances from Ingason and Warda went begging.
Olympiacos then managed to level matters with their only significant chance of the second half in the 77th minute. Fortounis sent over a precise corner kick which Ba rose to meet perfectly unmarked to head home for 1-1.
PAOK pressed until the last minute for a goal to try and win the game, but a curling effort from substitute Tzolis in the third minute of added time cannoned off Sa’s left post with the Portuguese goalkeeper beaten. The final whistle followed shortly after that, with the two teams sharing the spoils.
PAOK ended up with 17 goal attempts to Olympiacos’ six, but didn’t manage to reduce the gap between the two teams in the standings, and now the attention of the team’s efforts turns to the upcoming away match against OFI in Heraklion.
Olympiacos: Sa, Rafinha, Semedo, Ba, Reabciuk, M’Vila, Kamara, Valbuena (71′ Hassan), Fortounis (82′ Bouchalakis), Vrousai (61′ Randelovic), El Arabi (82′ Masouras).