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SPORTS

Olympiacos Roars Back in Second Half, Defeats AEK 3-1 at OPAP Arena

March 12, 2023

ATHENS – In a stunning second half, Olympiacos triumphed over AEK 3-1 at the “OPAP Arena” and firmly joined the championship race, reducing the gap to three points from the Enosi and five from Panathinaikos, who climbed to the top after their victory in Peristeri. The Piraeus team played exceptionally well and, after enduring the storm in the first half, in which they faced immense pressure from the “yellow and black” team, they struck like a cobra in the second half with Moukoudi’s own goal from Biel’s shot, and the goals of Baka and Cano.

The Enosi fell into Olympiacos’ trap, as they believed they had control of the game and failed to pay attention to their defense, resulting in their first defeat at their new stadium after 14 consecutive wins.

AEK started the match with an intense pace and pressed the Piraeus team, aiming for an early goal. In the 4th minute, there was confusion in Olympiacos’ box after a cross by Gacinovic, and Doi cleared the ball. Two minutes later, the “red and whites” strongly protested a foul by Moukoudi on Cano just outside Athanasiadis’ penalty area, but the Italian referee Maurizio Mariani allowed the game to continue. However, the video showed that the “Enosi’s” center-back caught Cano low on his leg and knocked him down.

The “yellow and blacks” continued to put pressure, and in the 11th minute, after a free kick by Gacinovic, Araujo headed the ball out. AEK approached the goal, and in the 20th minute, after Amrabat’s cross, Araujo went behind Doi and shot the ball, but Paschalakis saved it.

In the 22nd minute, Pineda scored a goal for Olympiacos with a shot from inside the penalty area, but AEK’s goal was disallowed as the Mexican midfielder had used his hand when he was unmarked by JuanGuai at the start of the move, which Mariani confirmed with VAR. Olympiacos had their first chance of the game in the 28th minute with a sudden shot by Biel from outside the box that missed the target. In the 32nd minute, after Rota’s cross, Pineda headed the ball to make it difficult for Paschalakis to catch it, resulting in a corner. The Piraeus team missed a great opportunity to open the scoring in the 34th minute when, after a mistake by Vida, Baqambou got hold of the ball and found himself facing Athanasiadis, but his shot was blocked by the AEK goalkeeper.

In the 44th minute, Rota made a long cross into the “red and white” box, and Araujo jumped to catch an inaccurate header before Paschalakis. In the second minute of added time in the first half, Olympiacos players protested for a penalty after Hatzisafi’s marking on Baqambou, but the incident was not clear in the replay.

In the 49th minute, Gacinovic had a shooting opportunity after a mistake by Doi, but his shot missed the target.

In the following minute, Olympiacos took the lead with Biel’s shot from inside the penalty area. The ball hit Moukoudi’s leg and changed direction, surprising Athanasiadis and finding the back of the net for 0-1. The “red and whites” didn’t stop there, as Baqambou scored their second goal in the 53rd minute, after receiving a precise pass from Fortounis and entering the “Enosi’s” box to place the ball into the net for 0-2.

The “Enosi” could not react and in the 67th minute, Olympiacos scored a third goal, when in a lightning counter-attack, Baqambou passed the ball to Canos and he scored with a close-range shot for 0-3. In the 69th minute, the Piraeus team was reduced to ten men due to Biel’s second yellow card, while two minutes later Paschalakis made an incredible save on Pineda’s close-range header. Eventually, the “Enosi” reduced the score in the 81st minute when Chouber unleashed a shot from outside the box that ended up in Paschalakis’ net for 1-3, while in the 85th minute they missed a great opportunity for another goal when Moukoudi’s header from the small box went out.

Ba, Fortounis, El Arabi, Vida, and Amrabaat received yellow cards.

AEK: (Matias Almeyda) Athanasiadis, Rota, Vida, Moukoudi, Hatzisafi (73’ Paulo Fernandes), Simanski, Amrabaat (65’ Eliaison), Yonson (65’ Chouber), Gacinovic (65’ Livai Garcia), Pineda, Araujo.

OLYMPIACOS: (Michel): Paschalakis, Rodeinou, Doi, Ba, Reabciuk, JuanGuai (91’ Retsos), Samasekou, Biel, Fortounis (72’ Vrousai), Canos (80’ Masouras), Baqambou (72’ El Arabi).

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