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SL1-R22: Asteras Tripoli - PAOK (13.02.23, 18:00 EET)


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If you look at the points we've dropped because of late equalisers it is the difference between us being in up to our eyeballs for the title or not. 6 points lost due to late goals v OFI, Levadiakos and now giving away 2 goals v Asteras because of a loss of concentration.  

Yes we rescued a point late v Asteras at Toumba so you can argue it cancels out one of those results, but still the hallmark of this team under Lucescu in 2017-2019 was being able to see out matches and find ways to win. Fair to say we aren't quite there yet but I am hopeful for next season.

For what remains of this season 2nd spot and winning the cup are the goals, even if we beat AEK on the weekend and close the gap, ultimately I don't think we are quite good enough this season to win the title.                   

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The most random thing happened on this day. I left work early and went to watch the game at the London Fan Club, which is literally a few doors down from the office.

Upon arriving I walked in on Lefteris Doukas, the communications officer at PAOK. Apparently he had been invited to London for the cutting of the fan club's vasilopita. I certainly never expected to see him at 4pm on a Monday. He seems to be a diehard PAOK fan, and that is exactly the problem. During the game he came out with expressions that you hear from average fans (sometimes clueless, sometimes name-calling). Again, generally he seemed like a nice guy but no wonder Greek football has no chance when the people like him are the ones working in communications. If he is in that position then you can be sure other clubs are doing the same.

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This is a prime example of why the people "behind the scenes" are so incredibly important - a well-run team would not have room for this kind of nonsense. I believe PAOK's board is mostly made up of those kinds of people; folks who can take a step back and assess situations more dispassionately. For similar reasons, Lucescu's descent into name calling these last few months worries me. It sets a bad tone for the entire team, which the morons in the fan base will just further amplify.

As for Doukas - I would not be surprised that he's like that, considering how many of his sound bites are reported by the fan sites as some sort of "gotcha" against our opponents. Is he right? Yeah probably. I'm on his side, after all. But how about we let the nonsense come from the 20-year-olds instead?

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