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Olympiacos Travel to the Poli With Hopes of Progressing Past Besiktas

Olympiacos Travels to the Poli With Hopes of Progressing Past Besiktas
 

UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE - ROUND OF 16 (LEG 2)

Olympiacos 2:00 PM Besiktas
Thurs, 16-Mar

Georgios Tsitsonis from AGONAsport.com brings you a full preview for Olympiacos’ second leg matchup against Besiktas in the UEFA Europa League Round of 16.

 

OVERVIEW
 

It promises to be a tense night on Thursday at the Vodafone Arena in Istanbul as Olympiacos and Besiktas fight for a place in the last eight of the Europa League. The 1-1 draw in Piraeus a week ago leaves both sides hoping of qualification heading into the crucial second leg.

Besiktas take the away goal into the second leg and back on home turf they are the slight favorites. The Black Eagles are riding a seven-match unbeaten run. However, there is some talk that perhaps their form may be dipping just a bit as they followed up last week’s first leg tie with a home draw against Kayserispor at the weekend in domestic action. That saw Besiktas’ lead at the top of the Turkish Super Lig cut to two points heading into the final weeks of the season. 

Olympiacos meanwhile snapped their three-match losing skid in the Greek SuperLeague with a 2-0 win over Atromitos. Vasilis Vouzas’ appointment as interim manager has seemingly lifted the spirits of those at the club. Heading into the most important stage of the season, that could be crucial. It remains to be seen whether Vouzas can make history and lead his side to the last eight of the Europa League for the first time.


TEAM NEWS
 

Olympiacos: Olympiacos received a big boost with the news that winger Seba is fit to travel with the squad. While the Brazilian probably won’t start, his rapid recovery from injury means he will be an option off the bench. Vouzas is expected to stick with Nicola Leali in goal for the Erythrolefki even if Stefano Kapino has also recovered from a month’s absence to be included in the squad. Diogo Figueiras was a doubt ahead of this match, but he is expected to feature. Vouzas has decided that Oscar Cardozo is not in the best form and has left him out of his squad for the second leg.

Besiktas: The big news coming out of the Besiktas camp is the likely absence of defender Marcelo for the second leg. The Brazilian center-back came off in the 54th minute of the weekend match against Kayserispor and is expected to miss Thursday’s match-up.

Senol Gunes is expected to give the nod to Croatian defender Matej Mitrovic who filled the spot for Marcelo in the Kayserispor match.


POTENTIAL LINE-UPS
 

Olympiacos: Leali, Cissokho, Botia, Retsos, Figueiras, Romao, Cambiasso, Fortounis, Elyounoussi, Manthatis, Ansarifard

Besiktas: Fabri, Beck, Mitrovic, Tosic, Adriano, Ozyakup, Hutchinson, Quaresma, Talisca, Babel, Aboubakar


THE REFEREE
 

English referee Michael Oliver has been put in charge of this 2nd leg tie. The 32-year-old has been a FIFA referee since 2012 and has officiated in the Premier League since 2010.

While he has never refereed a game involving Olympiacos, Oliver has overseen three matches involving Greek sides in Europe. 

Unfortunately for Greek supporters, their sides have never won with Oliver as the man in the middle. Panathinaikos, PAOK, and Asteras Tripolis have collectively lost twice and drawn once in recent years in Europe with Oliver officiating.


RECENT FORM
 

Olympiacos: WDLWL

  • 3/12 Olympiacos-Atromitos 2-0 (Greek SuperLeague)
  • 3/9 Olympiacos-Besiktas 1-1 (Europa League, Round of 16)
  • 3/5 PAOK-Olympiacos 2-0 (Greek SuperLeague)
  • 3/2 Atromitos-Olympiacos 1-2 (Greek Cup)
  • 2/26 Olympiacos-Panionios 0-1 (Greek SuperLeague)

Besiktas: DDWWW

  • 3/12 Besiktas-Kayserispor 2-2 (Turkish Super Lig)
  • 3/9 Olympiacos-Besiktas 1-1 (Europa League, Round of 16)
  • 3/4 Besiktas-Rizespor 1-0 (Turkish Super Lig)
  • 2/27 Galatasaray-Besiktas 0-1 (Turkish Super Lig)
  • 2/23 Besiktas-Hapoel Beer Sheva 2-1 (Europa League, Round of 32)

SCENARIOS
 

With the first leg ending 1-1 in Greece, the winning side of the second leg will progress to the quarterfinals of the Europa League. If the match ends in a 0-0 draw Besiktas will advance on away goals while any draw 2-2 or greater will give Olympiacos the ticket to the quarterfinals on away goals. If the match ends 1-1 the game will go into extra time. 


PREDICTIONS
 

Surely this is a tough match to call. On form and with the advantage of the away goal, Besiktas look the odds on favorite to go through. 

However, Olympiacos, under Vouzas, look to be regaining confidence at just the right time. The Greek side will also have belief of doing the job in Turkey following their win last round against Osmanlispor. 

It should be an eventful night at the Vodafone Arena with the hosts having the edge, but the visitors ready to battle to the end. And it would not be a surprise to see another 1-1 draw leading to extra time in what promises to be a close tie. 


TV LISTINGS
 

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by: Giorgos Tsitsonis. Contact the writer at tsitsonisg.agonasport@gmail.com
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