Larissa can return to wins
Football League opens Day 4 today with two clubs that were not involved in the midweek matches of the Greek Cup. Larissa comes from the first defeat of the season and it will be interesting to see their reaction. Home matches like the one against Pierikos must be won at all cost because they strengthen the team’s confidence towards the Play-Offs. The preview and betting pick:
Analysis (Group 2): Larissa – Pierikos
*Larissa has not got a license for the use of AEL FC Arena yet. This match is held at Alkazar which is a familiar stadium for the club (former home).
*The coach of Pierikos, Michalis Ziogas, has great memories from Larissa as a player. He is still the top scorer of all time for Larissa and he was part of the team that won the Cup (1984-85) and the Championship of A’ Ethniki (1987-88). He also served the team as a coach on 2000 and 2011 and this is the first time in his coaching career that he will face them as an opponent.
Larissa was defeated from Lamia (1-0 away) last Monday. It was a strong battle where the determination of the home team for the win and a red card at Larissa (53’ Dernis) made the difference in the outcome of the match. Lamia exploited the extra man advantage and scored at 74’with a shot by Vassilogiannis. Coach Panagopoulos stated the opponent wanted the win more and they got it. There are three absences reported for the match against Pierikos where the goal is only the win which will allow Larissa to stay close to Zakynthos and Iraklis who continue undefeated (only wins).
Injured: Forner (MID/2), Souanis (FWD/0), Anastassakos (FWD/1)
Pierikos won the last home match against Agrotikos Asteras (1-0) and ended a negative streak of 4 matches without a win in all competitions (0W-1D-3L, 2 defeats in the Cup and 0W-1D-1L in Football League). They added pressure to their opponent in the first half but their winning goal came at 49’ when Manikas scored with a penalty kick. Coach Ziogas congratulated his players for their important win. H also pointed out that most of them are very young (Pierikos has the third lowest age average in Football League, 22.6 years) and this is why he asked the supporters to be patient as the performance of the team cannot possibly be the same in all their matches. There are two absences reported.
Injured: Kroustalelis (DEF/0), Katsiamitas (FWD/1)
Betting Pick: Larissa to win (-1) @ 2.10
The two teams have faced two common opponents after only three match days. Larissa got two wins against Apollon 1926 (2-0 at home, behind closed doors) and Agrotikos Asteras (3-0 away). Pierikos got an away draw against Apollon 1926 (0-0 away) and scored only once in the win against Agrotikos. The home team has a stronger roster and they are usually more reliable in front of their fans. The odds on their win are a bit low for my taste and the best way to get some extra value is their handicap win having in mind scores like 2-0 or 3-1.