PAOK vs Panionios
Competition: Greek Super League
Date: 21 May 2017
Kick-off: 17:15 CET
Shameful scenes took place in PAOK’s last game at Panathinaikos, with Vladan Ivic, the coach of the Thessaloniki team, being hit by a can of beer, which led to the game being abandoned. Earlier, players of both sides had practiced their… boxing skills. Center-back Jose Crespo and central midfielder Evgen Shakhov were given a three-match suspension 24 hours after the game was abandoned. PAOK have filed an appeal, the suspension could be reduced, but either way, both of them will miss this game. Left winger Amr Warda was sent-off before the game was abandoned, but he’s supposed to miss three games as well, for taking part in the brawl that had Crespo and Panathinaikos’ Marcus Berg as main… stars. Another left winger, Pedro Henrique, got injured, and didn’t train properly these last days. He got a yellow card at Panathinaikos, and it’s interesting that Ivic substituted him before the first half was over, seeing his Brazilian player super frustrated, and risking a second yellow card every time he challenged for the ball. Goalkeeper Glykos also didn’t train properly after the game at Panathinaikos, due to injury. Last, center-back Fernando Varela got injured against AEK last weekend, and will not reappear this season. As for Ivic, after missing Thursday’s training and being visited by players at his home, while recovering from his shocking experience at Panathinaikos, he returned to work on Friday.
What Panionios did at AEK on Wednesday, their 1-0 win, was called a miracle by their own people. Their triumph over the team that beat PAOK in Thessaloniki on the first day of the playoffs, has made everyone at Panionios feel that finishing first in this mini-league is not out of their reach. A draw at PAOK would be a massive success for the visitors, and given that the hosts are playing without key players, Panionios may be having a golden, golden opportunity to take all three points and shock Greece’s football world once again, positively, as they have done several times these last nine months. Coach Vladan Milojevic has practically all his players at his disposal.
PAOK vs Panionios: Head-to-head Stats
PAOK have eleven straight wins as hosts against Panionios in the championship. The visitors earned a 0-0 draw in February 2016, but that was a Cup game.
PAOK vs Panionios: Prediction
Despite playing without key figures, and not having scored a goal in the first two matches of the playoffs (even though the second one never reached its 90th minute, PAOK should win this one. There are games in which the… fans of PAOK kind of score for their team, they support them so intensely that PAOK players have described it as being ‘pushed forward’, and this is exactly that kind of game that Toumba almost on its own, with just a barely enough contribution of the players themselves, can win for the team.
PAOK vs Panionios: Tips
PAOK’s win is at just 1.36, which is logical and ridiculous at the same time. Logical because… this is PAOK, at Toumba, in a match they must win, but on the other hand, Panionios have reached a point that they cannot be treated like an almost second category team that travels to Thessaloniki just for the… honour of facing PAOK. Bottom line, PAOK’s win should be paying more. I’m not touching a simple PAOK win at 1.36, but, combined with over 2.5 goals, this goes up to 2.50, which is very much worth it.