Panionios vs PAOK
Competition: Greece Cup
Date: 6 February 2019
Kick-off: 18:00 CET
As Matic Kotnik (Panionios’ Slovenian goalkeeper) told reporters soon after his team’s 4-0 defeat at Olympiakos, “we fought for 70 minutes, but after 1-0, Olympiakos’ superiority was too obvious”. The Nea Smirni side did a good job until the 68th minute, when they went 1-0 down. From one moment to another, they… gave up. In the next 18 minutes, Olympiakos scored three more goals, with Panionios’ players looking 100% disheartened. Still, this may be their chance; unlike… Lamia, for example, who are hosting Olympiakos in the Cup having prioritized the Super League, their need to avoid relegation, Panionios can “afford” to play against PAOK with their best possible 11. They sit 9th in the Super League table, on 22 points, crazy things need to happen for them to get relegated (it feels… weird even considering it a possible scenario), and on the other hand, earning a Europa League ticket through the championship feels hard. The Cup is Panionios’ chance to “save” an otherwise poor season…
Up to now, foreign referees had done a great, or at least an “above average” work in the Super League (and in last season’s Cup final), whenever one was called to officiate in a Greek derby. On Sunday, the Dane who was chosen for the job, messed up, big time. PAOK took the lead in the 10th minute at AEK, the ref missed a penalty for the hosts later in the first half, but he did send PAOK winger Léo Jabá off, for no apparent reason, while also “forgetting” to show clear yellow cards to AEK players. He ended up becoming the “star” of the night in Athens, leaving both teams fuming at him. At the end of the day, PAOK stayed undefeated in the Super League, left Athens with a precious point (1-1), playing with a man less for more than 60 minutes (added time included). They are now six points ahead of second-placed Olympiakos, whom they are hosting on Sunday, in a mega-derby. Be reminded, PAOK have won the Cup two years in a row, and their target this season is to win their first ever double. Will they play with some “reserves”? Yes. Will that make a significant difference? My guess is, no, because PAOK’s “reserves” are actually awesome, and are only “reserves” because PAOK have assembled an excellent roster.
Previous five matches:
Olympiakos Piraeus vs Panionios 4-0
Panionios vs Asteras Tripolis 1-0
Panionios vs AEK Athens 0-2
Panionios vs PAS Giannina 2-0
PAOK vs Panionios 3-0
AEK Athens vs PAOK 1-1
PAOK vs PAS Giannina 2-1
PAOK vs OFI Crete 4-0
PAOK vs Panachaiki 5-0
PAOK vs Panionios 3-0
Panionios’ next game is on Saturday, again at home, versus Apollon Smyrnis. PAOK are hosting Olympiakos on Sunday (both Super League matches).
Panionios vs PAOK: Head to head Stats
One win for Panionios (back in 2016), two for PAOK (more recently), and two draws, in the last five games between these two in Nea Smirni.
Panionios vs PAOK: Prediction
I wouldn’t bet on PAOK’s win, no matter how tempting that 1.75 looks to me, because I feel their main target in this match is to score and avoid losing, not necessarily win the match.
Panionios vs PAOK: Betting Tips
“Over 2.5 goals” is my main tip, at 2.30. If you find this, PAOK’s double chance combined with “over 2.5 goals” is at 2.80.