-- The Thrylos of Cyprus! --
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE - GROUP STAGE (GROUP B)
|Olympiacos||0 - 1||APOEL|
The downfall continues for Olympiacos… The Greek Champions fell to the “Thrylos of Cyprus” APOEL 0-1 at the Karaiskaki, suffering their second consecutive defeat. Olympiacos had many chances to find the back of the net (had 3 posts), but the only goal of the game came in the 10th minute with Sotiriou’s header. Olympiacos still has the upper hand to progress from the group after Astana and Young Boys played to a goalless draw.
Paulo Bento went back to the 4-2-3-1 formation with Leali (will start the Europa League matches), Figueiras, Botia, da Costa, de la Bella, Cambiasso, Milivojevic, Seba, Marin, Fortounis, and Ideye. The visitors shocked Olympiacos in the 10th minute when Milanov’s cross was turned in by Sotiriou’s header to give APOEL the early 0-1 lead. After the 20 minute mark, Olympiacos began to put the pressure on APOEL, creating chances in the visitor’s half. The first opportunity came with de la Bella and from the ensuing corner Fortounis’ cross hit the crossbar and went out. Olympiacos’ best chance in the half came in the 28th minute when Ideye’s cross found Fortounis, but the Greek midfielder’s shot was kept out by great defending from Carlao. APOEL did not threaten after their goal as they took their lead into the break.
Early in the second half, Seba was also denied by the woodwork when his cross/shot was untouched, hitting the post and staying out. After APOEL created their second and final chance of the game, again with Sotiriou, Bento decided to take off Marin for Elyounoussi, but the substitution was rethought after the fans booed the decision! Unbelievable...The best chance in the second half for Olympiacos came in the 66th minute from Ideye’s header (de la Bella’s cross) that was cleared off the line (and hit the crossbar) by heroic defending from Merkis. In the 80th minute, Olympiacos created their final chance with Elyounoussi’s clever effort from Martin’s long-ball, but Waterman denied the Norwegian. The Erythrolefki looked tired in the final minutes of the game, playing without urgency, and they were handed another defeat in this year’s UEFA Competitions.
After Olympiacos’ second consecutive defeat, Paulo Bento’s position as manager will be in question and will likely be decided after Sunday’s derby against AEK. Olympiacos currently sit 2nd in Group B with 3 points as APOEL lead the group with 6 points. Fortunately for Olympiacos, Astana and Young Boys played to a goalless draw in Kazakhstan as both teams have only one point from two matches. In matchday 3, Olympiacos will host Astana in a must win game at the Karaiskaki Stadium.