Olympiacos searching for vital points in Seville
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE - MATCHDAY 5
|Real Betis||19:55 GR||Olympiacos|
Olympiacos require at least a point when playing Group F leaders Real Betis in Seville. AGONAsport previews the fifth match of the UEFA Europa League group stage.
Group F is going down to the wire. After four rounds, Olympiacos currently occupy third place of the pool, however they are tied with AC Milan on seven points while Betis lead the way with one point extra. Initially, the Piraeus giants only gained a single point from the first two games, however the two consecutive wins against Dudelange 2:0 in Luxembourg and 5:1 in Greece have clawed them back into contention for a Last 32 berth.
In their first European campaign since the 2013/2014 season, Spanish outfit Real Betis have been the standout team in Group F, sitting in first position with two wins and two draws in the opening four matches. In the double header against AC Milan, Betis claimed a famous 2:1 win at the San Siro, before the two teams drew level 1:1 in Seville. 22-year old midfielder Giovani Lo Celso is their top scorer with three goals to his name.
When the two teams met at the Karaiskakis Stadium in September, Olympiacos struggled for long periods and saw left-back Konstantinos Tsimikas sent off with a second yellow card, but thanks to solid goalkeeping from Andreas Gianniotis, the Thrylos held an impressive Betis at arm’s length to draw 0:0. Like a typical Spanish team, Betis are capable of playing excellent, free-flowing football, protecting possession and moving forward with pace. The Olympiacos defence will have to be at its best to keep them off the board.
At the weekend, Real Betis dropped a disappointing defeat in La Liga, losing 1:2 at Villarreal after conceding two quick-fire goals early in the second half. Betis languish in 14th place of the league with only 16 points from 13 matches.
For their part, Olympiacos were given a stern test by plucky Atromitos in Peristeri, however a dramatic header from Jagos Vukovic in the final minute stole a vital 2:1 victory. Talented Guinean midfielder Mohamed Camara had equalised at close range.
TEAM NEWS: REAL BETIS
The only real absentee for the Spaniards is injured 29-year old Brazilian defender Sidnei. Otherwise, boss Quique Setien has a full strength squad at his disposal, and it’s interesting to see whether he will continue rotating the team with La Liga in mind. Lo Celso, Antonio Sanabria, Cristian Tello and veteran winger Joaquin will be the biggest threat to Olympiacos.
Possible line-up: Lopez, Mandi, Bartra, Feddal, Carvalho, Canales, Lo Celso, Tello, Junior, Joaquin, Sanabria.
TEAM NEWS: OLYMPIACOS
Attacking wise, head coach Pedro Martins has a few problems, with Lazaros Christodoulopoulos and Ahmed Hassan sitting on the sidelines with injuries. Miguel Angel Guerrero has only just returned from an injury of his own, but given that Dimitris Manos wasn’t registered for Europa League action, the Spanish forward will lead the line at the Benito Villamarin Stadium. Tunisian centre-back Yassine Meriah was left in Greece.
Possible line-up: Sa, Elabdellaoui, Cisse, Vukovic, Koutris, Camara, Guilherme, Nahuel, Fortounis, Podence, Guerrero.
REFEREE: SERGEY KARASEV (RUS)
Moscow born Sergey Karasev will officiate proceedings in Spain. Highly experienced at the top level, the 39-year old Russian refereed the Juventus - Young Boys (1:0) and AEK Larnaca - AS Trencin (2:0) matches in 2018/2019 European competition, also taking charge of the Iceland - Belgium (0:3) and Portugal - Poland (1:1) games in the UEFA Nations League.
In the 2013/2014 UEFA Champions League, Karasev was the referee for the Malmo - Olympiacos (2:0) game and oversaw the Hungary - Greece (0:0) game in UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying.
Referee: Sergey Karasev (RUS)
Assistant referees: Igor Demeshko (RUS), Aleksei Lunyov (RUS)
Additional assistant referees: Sergei Ivanov (RUS), Vladimir Moskalyov (RUS)
Fourth official: Roman Usachev (RUS)