DRAW AT BENFICA

The Champions League match played between Benfica and Olympiacos yesterday at the Luz Stadium has ended in the form of a draw. Both the teams put the ball into the net once in the match and got one point each.

This draw means that Benfica and Olympiacos are still equalized in terms of points. Both have got 4 points in 3 games. But, since the goal differential of Olympiacos is better than Benfica, they are placed ahead in the points table. They are at no. 2, while, Benfica is at no. 3. Both the sides have got 5 points less than the table toppers Paris Saint-Germain.

It was a match hugely affected by rain. It was pouring down out there and the players were having a lot of problems. Still, the game went on somehow.

It was Olympiacos which took the lead in the 29th minute of the game courtesy Alejandro Dominguez and they maintained their lead too for a long period of time, but, just 7 minutes before the end of the game, they conceded the equalizer and had to share points eventually.

Cardozo was the one who scored that equalizer for Benfica. It came off a corner kick.

Kostas Mitroglou who had found the net thrice for Olympiacos in their previous Champions League game looked good in this game too. He made several good moves and came close to scoring a couple of times, but, couldn’t finish properly on either of those two occasions.

Olympiacos has to take on Benfica again on 5th of November and then, towards the end of that month, they will face mighty PSG.  It’s important for them to secure some points from those couple of games; otherwise, they might find them struggling to qualify for the next round.

PAOK HOPES HIT

PAOK’s hopes of making it into the group stages of the Champions League took a major hit after they were defeated 2-0 by Ukraine’s Metalist Kharkiv in the first leg of the Champions League third qualifying round. As a result of this defeat, it looks highly unlikely that they will be seen in the group stages. PAOK were playing in front of empty stands after the club was given a ban due to the behaviour of its supporters. PAOK supporters were found guilty by an investigation by UEFA. As a result, the match was seen only by a handful of visiting supporters.

This is the first competitive game of the season for PAOK, and it looked like they were not really interested in the match, according to the best football blog. The Greek club made a number of errors over the course of the 90 min, which were duly punished by Metalist Kharkiv. Miguel Vitor gave away a cheap penalty in the 42nd minute through a handball, which was converted by Marko Devic. Then, it was a moment of individual brilliance from Marko Devic to make it a resounding lead for the Ukrainian club. The 2-0 defeat means that it is now highly unlikely that the Greek club will fancy their chances of appearing in the group stages.

Their manager was understandably disappointed after the match, but he is still hoping that his team can come up with a miracle in the second leg. Metalist could have made sure of the tie even more with a late third goal, but a combination of the woodwork and PAOK keeper Jacobo helped keep the score 2-0. This at least gives the Greek club a fighting chance of getting back into the competition when the return leg takes place in Ukraine next week. However, this match will certainly not be easy for PAOK.

OLYMPIACOS CHASE ROSICKY

The Greek club Olympiakos is said to be interested in the midfielder of Arsenal Tomas Rosicky.

The 32 years old Czechoslovakian has just one year left in his contract with Arsenal and Olympiakos is ready to lure the Gunners with a bid of 2 million Pounds.

Rosicky has been with Arsenal since the last 7 years, but, his tenure has been hugely affected by the injuries. In 7 seasons, he has just managed to play 128 games.

In the last season also, Rosicky had joined the Gunners camp pretty late because of the injury that he had discovered in the Euro 2012. He just featured for the Gunners in 16 games last season.

At the end of the season, there were talks that Rosicky would be put on sale this summer, but, in one of his interviews a few weeks back, Rosicky said that Arsene Wenger didn’t want him to leave Arsenal.

When asked about his chances of staying at Arsenal next season, Rosicky said, “I think I am staying. I had a chat with the manager at the end of the season and he told me that he didn’t want me to leave. Off course, anything can happen in professional soccer, but, as things stand now, I think I will be a part of Arsenal next season.”

When asked if he is fully satisfied with Arsenal’s performance last season, Rosicky said, “The way we ended the season was fantastic. We had an awful start and in December last year, we couldn’t imagine that we would end up at no. 4. But, the team showed tremendous character and we came back wonderfully.”

The Gunners were at no. 10 in the league points table at one point of time in the last season, but, a string of fine performances towards the end of the season saw them qualifying for the Champions League.

Betting tips on the Premier League

While the top end of the Premier League seems to be stabilised, that is not at all the case and the bottom. While it seems very likely that QPR will face the drop, it is not at all certain which other clubs will be joining them. Anyway, in terms of betting opportunities there is plenty of action remaining as the relegation battles warm up.

Wigan’s manager Roberto Martinez is getting quite a reputation for battling his way out of relegation, and it is said that he has a calming influence on his players that stop them from panicking. This was demonstrated when they beat the other relegation contender Reading 3-0. Reading is still reeling from that defeat though according to its manager Brian McDermott it won’t faze them.

Read More

FIGUEROA IN AT PANATHINAIKOS

The Greek club Panathinaikos have brought in the services of the former Argentine striker Luciano Figueroa in the hope of improving its goal scoring record over the course of the season. Despite being considered as one of the top teams in Greece, Panathinaikos have struggled for form this season. As a result of the poor form, the club are currently eighth in the Greek table after having taken just 26 points from the 21 matches. Even more worrying for the club is the fact that they have managed to score just 22 goals in these matches.

The arrival of the 31-year-old Luciano Figueroa not only adds to the forward line up, but also provides some much-needed quality and experience as well. The Greek table is currently led by the Olympiakos, who have 54 points from the matches played so far. Figueroa has represented the Argentina national team in 15 matches. He has a decent goal scoring record in these matches as pointed out by his return of nine goals. However, his last appearance for the national team came in 2005. It has been revealed that the 31-year-old will be spending the rest of the season at Panathinaikos. He has included the option of an additional year in his contract, but it will depend upon his performances this season. The club has managed just one victory in the last five matches of all competitions.

They have also managed to score just four goals in these matches. As a result, there is incredible pressure on the manager Fabri Gonzalez. The club needs to find its form as quickly as possible because there are just six points above the relegation zone. Two clubs are relegated from the Greek top division at the end of the season. Olympiakos have a five-point advantage at the top of the table.

OLYMPIAKOS NET WIN

Greek football had another reason to cheer after the recent round of Champions League after the Greek team Olympiacos managed a stunning 2-1 victory over the Premier league club Arsenal. This victory means that the Premier league club Arsenal will not be able to finish top of the group. Arsene Wenger came into the match looking for a victory that will finally bring it into the poor run of form experienced by his team, but he was left disappointed once again after the team failed to win the match. This defeat means that they finished second in the group, which will mean that they will be facing a tough team in the knockout stages of the tournament.

Even more difficult to take for Arsene Wenger is the fact that the crucial second leg will be away from home in the last 16 stage of the competition. Olympiacos did not have the opportunity to progress to the next stage of the Champions League. However, this victory has significantly boosted their opportunities to play in the Europa league in the second half of the season. Arsenal were coming into the match on the back of the 2-0 defeat suffered at the hands of Swansea during the weekend. The manager made a number of changes to the team, which was forced upon him.

“For their first goal, it was a goal kick not a corner, simple as that. I don’t think it was the right decision, but we have to cope with it. After that they scored a good goal. We had a good first half but dropped physically in the second. Many of the players are not used to that level. We had two or three chances to score a second but after that we know we can be in trouble,” said the Arsenal manager.