O L Y M P I A C O S   1 9 2 5
O L Y M P I A C O S   1 9 2 5
Levante – Olympiacos 3 – 0

Levante – Olympiacos 3 – 0

Olympiacos was subdued 3-0 in Valencia by Levante for the first leg of Europa League round of 32.

MÍchel chose a line-up consistent to what he has been testing in the side’s last training sessions before the fixture. The formation was 4-3-3 (4-2-3-1 when Olympiacos was on the defense) and the 11 players were the following:Megyeri was under the post, Maniatis defending on the right, Cholevas on the left and Manolas holding the centre defense with Contreras. The midfield trio consisted of Modesto, Fejsa and Machado. On the offense, Vlachodimos would come from the right, Abdoun from the left and Rafik Djebbour atop.

The match didn’t start well for our side that set out early enough for the equaliser. Olympiacos was given the space by the opponent side that kept waiting for storming in counter-attack. That was the case in the 10th minute, when Barkero made the through-ball to Rios, who, after faking out his marker, took the shot to beat Megyeri for the opening goal.

Olympiacos had to strive for the comeback, however the “red-and-whites” (the players wore the all-white shirt with a horizontal red ribbon), with an authority worthy of a champion, resumed swiftly their efforts to equalize.

Our side attacked a lot from the wings, but within the opening 20 minutes the players had no success in finding the necessary solutions in the offense. Levante displayed a very solid defensive behavior, with ten players (including Navas) behind the kick-off dot! Olympiacos kept trying to penetrate that tight defensive line.

In 28’, German referee Gräfe… gave the Spaniards the opportunity to take a two-goal lead! He invented a penalty call against Abdoun on Pedro Lopez and also dismissed (!) the Algerian for just …stretching out his arm towards the attacking player of the Spanish side (with no actual contact between them), who has barely set foot in the box…

Obafemi Martins took the penalty shot but failed to beat Balasz Megyeri since he sent the ball astray! Our side was not just one goal down but also one player short since it was a ten-man squad now. Things got tougher for Olympiacos, because of a mistaken call (as apparent to anyone even with the naked eye) by German referee Gräfe.

MÍchel proceeded promptly to some amendments in the pitch, in order to leave our side vulnerable on the left due to the sent-off. He brought Machado ahead of Cholevas with the former making his efforts now mainly from that side and closing in quite often. Levante continued its own fully defensive-minded play; in 34’, Djebbour entered the box, brought the ball down and took the shot, but it was deflected and off-target.

In 38’, referee Gräfe “meshed up’ the match for good to the detriment of our squad. In a drive by Pedro Lopez from the right and a Cholevas challenge on the Spaniard, he called for a penalty! The second one for Levante in the match within ten minutes! The German referee also cautioned the Greek international defender. Marking, however, occurred outside the area with Pedro Lopez deciding …to try a nice falling in the box in order to easily take a penalty call out of that…

Barkero scored from the spot, tipped the match in favor of Levante by 2-0 and made Olympiacos deed even more difficult. Gräfe would whistle calls too easily in favor of Levante and it was in the 43’ that he booked Manolas for… faking a foul outside Levante’s box! MÍchel sent Greco to warm-up. A few minutes later, the referee blew for half time.
After the break, MÍchel sent Greco in for Modesto, who has been booked as well. He placed Machado and Greco in the centre midfield (atop Fejsa, the only defending midfielder) and let Vlachodimos play in the hole, behind Rafik Djebbour. He also called Fetfatzidis and Mitroglou to start warming-up.

In 56’, the match took a definitive bad turn for our side when Obafemi Martins managed to cut right opposite our goalkeeper, after a not-intercepted through-ball, tipped the ball and bagged the third, 3-0. It was obvious that it wasn’t our team’s night, and in 58’ Fejsa took the shot, following a smooth free kick by Greco, but Navas saved it to a corner kick. In the aftermath of that, Manolas claimed the header and sent ball to meet Navas’ cross-bar! The next moment Mitroglou entered the pitch replacing Vlachodimos.

In 75΄, Fetfatzidis came in for Machado and that move completed our side’s three substitutions.

In 88΄, Djebbour made a slick move, dribbled past his markers and took the shot, which hit the post of goalkeeper Navas for the second time.

In injury time, Maniatis took an unforeseen shot but Navas’ full stretch save sent the ball for a corner kick.

So, nothing changed in the last minutes of the encounter and Levante took the win by 3-0.

LEVANTE: Navas, Navaro, Rodas, Barkero, Iborra, Juanfran, Rios (67΄ Valdo), Pedro Lopez, Diop (61’ MÍchel), Martins (82΄ Acquafresca), Rubén García.

OLYMPIACOS: Megyeri, Maniatis, Manolas, Contreras, Cholevas, Modesto(46’ Greco), Fejsa, Machado(75΄ Fetfatzidis), Vlachodimos (59’ Mitroglou), Abdoun, Djebbour.

STADIUM: Ciutat de Valencia
MARKSMEN: 10’ Rios, 39’ Barkero (pen.), 56’ Martins / –
REFEREE: Μ. Gräfe (Germany)
ASSISTANT REFEREES: Μ. Häcker , Χ. Henschel (Germany)
ADDITIONAL ASSISTANT REFEREES: C. Dingert, G. Winkmann (Germany)
FOURTH OFFICIAL: G. Kleve (Germany)
YELLOW CARDS: 25’ Rios, 45’ Diop / 17’ Abdoun, 27’ Modesto, 38’ Cholevas, 43’ Manolas, 64΄ Djebbour
RED CARDS: – / 28’ Abdoun
POSTS: – / 58’ Manolas, 88΄ Djebbour

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