ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Panathinaikos extended its lead in the Greek league to eight points on Sunday after earning a 0-0 draw at Aris Thessaloniki as second-place Olympiakos lost 1-0 at home to PAOK.
Panathinaikos now has 48 points from 19 games, with Olympiakos and third-place PAOK on 40 points each.
The Greek leader squandered an early chance when Djibril Cisse met a cross by Dimitris Salpingidis in the ninth minute but could only send his header Michalis Sifakis’s crossbar.
Ten minutes later, a free kick by Giorgos Karagounis found Gilberto Silva in the Aris area, but his header hit the crossbar.
Unlike Aris, which failed to seriously threaten in the first half, the visitors had another chance in the 41st minute, when a powerful shot by Lazaros Christodoulopoulos forced Sifakis to make a diving save.
Alexandros Tzorvas palmed away a powerful shot by Aris striker Eddie Johnson before a 20-meter (yards) shot by Panathinaikos midfielder Costas Katsouranis in the 88th was saved by Sifakis to secure his side a point.
Striker Edinho scored PAOK’s winner in a counterattack in the 20th minute following a through ball by Vladan Ivic.
Olympiakos controlled the game in the second half but it was PAOK which came close to a second goal with Vieirinha and Pablo Garcia both hitting Antonis Nikopolidis’s crossbar.
Also Sunday, it was: Atromitos 2, Kavala 0; Panthrakikos 1, Xanthi 1 and AEK 3, Giannena 1.
Archive for January, 2010
“It was fantastic to have Gilberto Silva by my side when I made my international debut. He made me feel very calm. It’s hard to explain just how much help he gives you on the pitch, both when we’ve got the ball and when we haven’t,” said Melo to FIFA.com.
“Even though we’ve played a lot of games together I’m still learning. He’s got great tactical awareness and I suppose that’s something he developed when he was in England, where you have to be positionally aware. He is a terrific fighter and a champion too, of course.”
This weird site called MirrorFootball.co.uk reports that Gilberto has backed ex team mate Vieira:
Former Arsenal midfielder Gilberto has tipped ex-team mate Patrick Vieira to prove he can still be a World Cup star.
Panathinaikos midfielder Gilberto, 33, says Vieira can resurrect his career at Manchester City and force his way back into the France squad for next summer.
Gilberto said: “I thought Patrick would join Arsenal because he is so well loved there but the fact he has gone to Manchester City shows he is determined to win back his place with France.
“No-one can doubt that Patrick was a sensational player. He did not have a great time in Italy with Inter Milan but has got a lot to offer with his experience and ability.
“I think it will be a different style of football and also a new challenge at City. But I’m still quite sure that Patrick will get a great reception when he returns to Arsenal with City.”
Veja Magazine have published an amazing interview with Gilberto. I have linked to the original interview at Veja’s website below, but what follows is an English translation of the entire article and interview. Veja magazine have always been a supporter of Gilberto, labelling him as “…he who carried the piano for Rivaldo and Ronaldinho to play their tunes” in the 2002 World Cup.
To reiterate: Silvio Nascimento wrote this article, and what follows is just a translation.
Gilberto Silva became a professional player after he made a difficult decision: between the age of 16 and 19 years stopping to play football in order to help his family in his home town of Lagoa da Prata (Minas Gerais) working in various roles in a milk factory earning barely more than the minimum wage. Once the situation had improved in the family, he decided to give one more chance to being a player, even at 19 years old. He trained alone, technically and physically, and got a place in America (MG), where he played between 1997 and 1999. He joined Atlético Mineiro (from 2000 to 2002) and Arsenal (England), from 2002 to 2008, and now plays for Panathinaikos (Greece), where he is under contract until mid-2011.
Considered a certainty to feature in the Brazil national team with Dunga for the 2010 World Cup, he is one of the ‘workers’ of the team that won the confidence of the coach - and helped him learn to live with the criticism. At 33, he was crowned world champion in 2002, he played in the 2006 World Cup in Germany, and won the Confederations Cup in 2005 and 2009. He has 107 caps and is one of the two most capped players in team called upon by Dunga the most frequently; he and Lucio have already played in 90 games. Simple in manner and soft in voice, gave this interview from Greece:
Who were your idols in football?
I did not see much, but like Zico, Reinaldo, Cerezo. And Baresi Milan.
How was your arrival in the selection?
I was called for the last two playoff games in 2001 against Bolivia and Venezuela. My first game was against Bolivia in La Paz, I was subbed on in the second half, the game was difficult, we lost 3-1 and then beat Venezuela. It was an important period because Luis Felipe Scolari wanted to test several players who played in Brazil soon after in friendlies. So we played a series of games where I played with Emerson, Kaka and Anderson Polga. He wanted to see how the younger players would fare.
You then became a regular in 2002 following Emerson’s injury.
I did not expect to be chosen for the first team. It was a great misfortune for Emerson, the captain, such a reliable player, he was injured during training. On the eve of the first game, I was in my room when Scolari and Murtosa and told me I would start the game; I was speechless, but they left me on my own and said that if I did what I had done for my club then that would be enough to impress.
After eight years in the Brazil national side, you still receive criticism.
We must prepare for every situation, especially in the national team. The criticism is large. There’s always someone who thinks that someone who was left out is better than who is in the team. That’s normal. But the most difficult moment was the time I played at Arsenal, in my last season. Because I changed my club and because I had goals with the Brazilian team.
You were a starter in the Brazilian national team yet only a substitute for Arsenal.
It was very strange even to the people at Arsenal. I did not understand the attitude of the coach, Arsene Wenger. I had just been champion of the Copa America, was Arsenal captain, and then I lost the Arsenal captaincy. That’s what made me leave. I knew that if I did not play then it would be difficult to get back into the national team - and I would lose my rhythm. I had confidence in Dunga.
But there is always criticism
Then there are people who forget what we did, our sacrifice in order to defend our country. Some people do not understand this, perhaps locals, do not know. Sometimes criticism takes a new direction, but I never let it affect me; I answer the criticism on the pitch.
When you decided to leave Arsenal, did you have many offers?
Yes, an offer from Atletico Mineiro to return, but I wanted to stay in Europe. I also received contact from clubs in Germany, England and the Netherlands. But the club that gave me the best conditions was Panathinaikos. The club is good, the country also played in the Champions League… It was a risk, but it’s working. And the contract until 2011 was crucial, because the other teams wanted no more than two years.
What country is playing well right now in Europe?
Spain is doing well and England is a strong team. But in cup competitions, everything is different: you can get there and fall, or come falling down and go right ahead.
We got a very good group and today we learned to play with purpose. Of course we have a chance, but we realize that we must live one day at a time, we encounter difficulties, but we all want to win every game like it’s the final. So we think of one step at a time.
How is it working with Dunga?
His experience as a national team player has the tranquility to assemble the group gradually. It was not easy because from 2006 came many criticisms. He is simple and direct in dealing with each group, young and older. He knows how to deal out criticism, and is very objective. The partnership with Jorginho is great, because they have different styles and this union has worked.
By Silvio Nascimento