Monthly Archives: July 2017

Panathinaikos, PAOK gain upper hand

Panathinaikos and PAOK secured positive results in their first-leg games for the third qualifying round of the Europe League on Thursday, while Panionios suffered a reverse it can overcome in the return game.

Panathinaikos defeated Qabala from Azerbaijan 1-0, the team that had dumped it out of the same competition two years ago. This was the first win in a European game for Panathinaikos after seven matches.

In front of full stands at the Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium the Greens deserved a higher score given the number of chances they created. Eventually they scored from the penalty spot, as Guillermo Molins’ goal on the 37th minute was the first for Panathinaikos after three European games when the Greens were scoreless.

Robin Lod hit the woodwork twice and his colleagues missed numerous chances to add to the Greens’ tally on the night, while the Greek defense held firm for a clean sheet that could prove precious.

PAOK escaped with a 1-1 draw from Kiev as Olimpik Donetsk outplayed the Greeks (who actually had no Greeks on the pitch until the 81st minute) but was unable to transform that into a home win.

Pedro Henrique scored for PAOK through a spectacular shot four minutes after coming on as a substitute on the 55th minute, to equalize Stanislav’s Bilenkyi’s opener on the 49th minute.

The players of coach Aleksandar Stanojevic were obviously unprepared for the game, but were fortunate enough not to concede any more than once on the night.

Panionios lost 1-0 at Maccabi Tel Aviv although it played quite well in the humid conditions of Israel.

Facing its host without Masoud Shojaei and Ehsan Hajsafi, as the Iranian players are not allowed by their government to visit Israel, the Nea Smyrni team held on till the 48th minute, when a solo effort by Vidar Orn Kjartansson found the back of the net.

The chances that fell to Giorgos Masouras and Lazaros Lambrou went to waste, but Panionios showed it can overturn the deficit in a week’s time at home.

All return games will take place on August 3.

Olympiakos puts three past Partizan, while AEK suffers

Ben Mohamed scored a precious brace for Olympiakos in Belgrade to lead the Reds to a 3-1 win over Partizan for the third qualifying round of the Champions League on Tuesday, while AEK lost 2-0 at home to a superior CSKA Moscow. The results render next week’s return games largely academical.

Ben scored his first for Olympiakos just five minutes after kick-off following a great one-two with Marko Marin.

Partizan equalized four minutes later as Leandre Tawamba’s shot was parried by Olympiakos keeper Stefanos Kapino, but the ball went in off Tawamba’s body.

Ben restored Olympiakos’s lead 10 minutes after the interval with a spectacular solo effort that ended in a curving left-footed effort from outside the area for 2-1.

Then a great through-ball from the left by Diogo Figueiras in injury time found Emmanuel Emenike with only the goalkeeper to beat, and he sealed victory for the Greeks.

Partizan was far from hospitable for Olympiakos, with bangers and objects hurled against the Olympiakos players, and Greek swearing chants directed at the Reds as Partizan fans made the most of their twinning with PAOK supporters, and the two sets of players had a tussle at half-time on the way to the locker rooms.

AEK wished to combine the news of obtaining the construction permit to build a new soccer ground at Nea Filadelfia – the long-anticipated “Aghia Sofia” stadium – with a good result against CSKA, but this appeared impossible on the night.

Playing in front of some 35,000 AEK fans, and 200 visiting supporters, AEK had a decent start to the game putting some pressure on the Russians, but as the time went on CSKA dominated game.

After hitting the cross bar on the 28th it opened the score on the last minute of the first half as Alan Djagoev headed the ball home from a corner kick from the right.

The goal damaged the self-confidence of AEK and CSKA added the second goal 11 minutes into the second half. It was another corner kick which was this time turned in by Pontus Wernbloom, practically taking the two-leg tie beyond AEK.