Last Monday was draw day for Greek teams, as Olympiakos was paired up with Arsenal for the Round of 32 in the Europa League, while the draw for the Greek Cup’s Round of 16 has left some scope for upsets, most notably in the all-black-and-white clash of OFI with PAOK.
Olympiakos has since August been the only Greek side left in Europe, and it entered the first knock-out stage draw of the Europa League hoping for some leniency, although it was among the unseeded teams. The draw was not so kind to the Piraeus team though, pairing it up with last season’s finalist Arsenal.
“I honestly think we will experience two very beautiful games; they will be two beautiful nights for Greek soccer,” said Olympiakos coach Pedro Martins upon hearing the name of his team’s next opponent in Europe.
“Arsenal is not an easy team, as last year it was the Europa League finalist and fought for the league title in England. This year things are not the same in the league, but it still is a team that deserves respect,” said the Portuguese manager, promising that “OIympiakos will not surrender and fight.”
Those two nights are scheduled for February 20 in Piraeus and for February 27 in London.
In the Greek Cup Olympiakos was far luckier, as it will face third-division team Kalamata in the home-and-away games of the Round of 16.
There are three far more interesting ties, in OFI vs PAOK, Asteras Tripolis vs AEK and Xanthi vs Aris.
After eliminating Panachaiki in the previous round with two wins – 3-1 away and 2-0 at home – Panathinaikos will face another ,Super League 2 club PAS Giannina, with the first game at Ioannina.
In other ties, the two bottom teams of the Super League will face each other in the Panetolikos vs Panionios pairing, while Volos and Atromitos will meet for the first time ever in the competition.
Neighbors Trikala and Lamia will clash with the first leg at Trikala.
The ties will be played on January 7-9 and 14-16.