Panathinaikos vs PAOK
Competition: Greek Super League
Date: 17 May 2017
Kick-off: 19:30 CET
Panathinaikos were down to ten men just 12 minutes into the game against Panionios on Sunday, Zeca got sent-off, but even so, they took the lead in the first half, and managed to earn at least a draw, which is not the best possible result, but under the circumstances, it wasn’t a bad one either. Central midfielder and captain Zeca will obviously miss this game due to suspension. That’s not all, though. Attacking midfielder Lucas Villafanez got injured, seriously enough to be expected to miss the remainder of the playoffs, a real blow to Panathinaikos. Center-back Giorgos Koutroubis got injured as well, he could hardly step on his right leg after the game at Panionios, and is a major doubt for the match against PAOK. Right-back Giandomenico Mesto hit his head, he had temporary loss of memory, and should stay out, mostly as a precaution. Right-back Ousmane Coulibaly is dealing with a health issue, and should also miss this game. Last, central midfielder Robin Lod remains injured. So, coach Marinos Ouzounidis has pretty much half a dozen players unavailable, and needs to find… magical solutions to deal with all these absences.
At PAOK, they are still trying to figure out how -the heck- they lost to AEK. They had won all three derbies at home in the regular season (against Olympiakos, Panathinaikos and AEK), they had humiliated Panathinaikos in the return leg of their Cup semifinal (4-0), they had beaten AEK at neutral venue just a week earlier, in the Cup final, they had an incredible record hosting AEK for years and years, but… somehow, they didn’t find a way to answer to the visitors’ goal early in the game, and now… Center-back Fernando Varela got injured against AEK, had to be substituted, and there are fears that he’s not going to play again this season. Other than that, coach Vladan Ivic has a -practically- full squad, but, one with their ego hurt, and it remains to be seen if they have it in them to bounce back, playing against a very motivated opponent (after that 4-0 at Toumba, in the Cup semi).
Panathinaikos vs PAOK: Head-to-head Stats
Panathinaikos have seven wins and three draws in their last ten home games against PAOK, in all competitions. Last time the Thessaloniki team won at Panathinaikos was in March 2012.
Panathinaikos vs PAOK: Prediction
Panathinaikos were… brave enough to earn a point at Panionios despite being left with ten men super early in the game. PAOK disappointed their fans by losing at home to AEK. The half a dozen players the hosts will be missing though, is something I can’t overlook. As long as they have Marcus Berg hot, they can count on scoring, but this is PAOK’s huge opportunity to put an end to their dire record at Panathinaikos, taking advantage of the hosts’ problems.
Panathinaikos vs PAOK: Tips
Panathinaikos are considered clear favorites to win this game, which suits me just fine, because it makes PAOK’s win pay 3.20. ‘Draw or PAOK’ is at 1.60, it may be enough for some, but I’m going with my hunch, I’m backing PAOK to win, and actually I’d go that far as to predict a win of their in an over 2.5 goals game, which pays 6.00. I ‘sense’ an 1-2 final score, which is at 12.00.