PAOK vs Panathinaikos
Competition: Greek Super League
Date: 31 May 2017
Kick-off: 19:30 CET
PAOK seem to be doing… everything possible to lose the top spot in the playoffs’ table. Against AEK on Sunday they were simply unacceptable and lost the game 1-0. Even so, they are first, and what they need to finish there is a win, to not care what will be happening simultaneously at Panionios. If AEK fail to beat Panionios, then PAOK will finish first even if they lose. On Monday, the Thessaloniki club were awarded with the three points for the game at Panathinaikos, the one that got abandoned after someone injured PAOK’s coach Vladan Ivic throwing him a big can of beer. It should be noted that the Thessaloniki team are without many key figures. Regular goalkeeper Panagiotis Glykos is injured and will stay sidelined for months. Center-back Fernando Varela got injured on the first day of the playoffs and will return to action next season. Right winger Giannis Mystakidis has been out for a long time now. Center-back Stelios Malezas got sent-off in the last game at AEK, and is obviously unavailable. Right-back Matos and attacking midfielder Dimitris Pelkas are also suspended. Last, even right winger Djalma Campos could miss the game, he got injured against AEK, and is super doubtful for this game. Good news for PAOK and Ivic is that central midfielder Evgen Shakhov and left winger Amr Warda are back, after missing three games due to suspension.
Monday’s decision of Super League’s disciplinary committee did not surprise anyone, and definitely put an end to any dreams Panathinaikos were making to finish first in the playoffs. Not only they lost, obviously, the game against PAOK which got abandoned, but they also saw three points getting deducted, plus, they will start the next championship with minus two points, plus, they will play their first two games behind closed gates. Even so, the ‘Greens’ want to get a result that will be better than that of Panionios against AEK, so as to finish at least third in the playoffs, and avoid starting the next season in… a couple of weeks. Swedish center-forward Marcus Berg remains suspended. Left winger Sebastian Leto is also suspended. Central midfielder Zeca is struggling with an injury, and is a major doubt.
PAOK vs Panathinaikos: Head-to-head Stats
PAOK have already beaten Panathinaikos twice this season at home, 3-0 in a regular season game, and 4-0 in a Cup semifinal.
PAOK vs Panathinaikos: Prediction
Despite their below average performance in every single game in the playoffs, PAOK should not commit football suicide, should win the game, even by just… half a goal.
PAOK vs Panathinaikos: Tips
PAOK’s win pays 1.66, which I consider way too low, given that they are playing without half a dozen important players, and have been very-very poor throughout the playoffs. I do expect them to win, though, and, by keeping a clean sheet, a combination that pays 2.50.