In the previews of the matches yesterday, I said I was worried for the performance of the teams after the delay in opening of the Playoffs. What I failed to expect was the weather. The first match (Kallithea vs. Kalloni) started at 18:00 with 38 °C and you could only feel sorry for the players that had to play in this heat.
Both teams complained for the weather conditions and I find it very possible that the League will announce soon that all the match days will be rescheduled for 20:00.
Kallithea – Kalloni 0-0
As expected, Kalloni was determined to rely on defense in this match, and with the help of the weather that kept both teams from speeding up the match, they did great. Kallithea tried to win the match but they only made four chances and failed to score in all of them. Kalloni was waiting, and they tried to score on counter attacks that were expected and stopped by the home team.
Although the Kallithea wanted the win in this match the draw is not such a bad result. Their next match is against Panachaiki at home, at the time they are in second place, two points away from Kalloni and Panachaiki and everything is still open. Kalloni will play against Platanias at home and they must win if they want to stay close to promotion.
It is too soon to understand who has better chances for the first place in the Playoffs. I think that things will begin to clear up after match day 4. One thing is sure; no one can feel safe until then.
Panachaiki – Platanias 2-3
It was the third match between these two teams this season (regular season and playoffs) and, once again, the away team won.
Everyone in Panachaiki is furious at the referee of the match Mr Abarkiolis. There have been a lot of complains about his performance and allegations that he manipulated the result. The chairman of the team, Mr Kougias, who is also a well known criminal lawyer here in Greece, ended up with Mr. Abarkiolis to the police accusing the referee for verbal insult. The coach, Mr Papakostas, admitted that his team made mistakes, but also stated that the final score was determined by the referee.
On the contrary, everyone at Platanias was delighted with the result. Having to play away their two first matches for the playoffs, it was clear that they were after at least one win and they were lucky enough to achieve it today. It is true that the referee did not have a good performance but still, an away win against Panachaiki by scoring three goals is not an easy task.
Platanias are now on the lead with 4 points, their morale is superb, and the next match is against Kalloni at Mytilini. For the record, the two teams met again in the last day of the regular season and Kalloni won (1-0) and ensured their participation in the Playoffs. Panachaiki will have to play their next match away at Kallithea. Both teams are favorites for winning the first place of the playoffs. After today’s results, where they both failed to win, I expect to see a match where fair play and respect for the opponent team will be unknown terms.