Improvement is necessary

The country’s trio of Champions League representatives enter the competition’s second round of group play tonight and tomorrow without having proven that they can be capable sides. Olympiakos, which meets Juventus in Athens tonight, is plagued by scoring problems. Also, the club’s play is slow, lacks imagination, and is predictable. The option of Christian Karembeu as a sweeper may prove an effective defensive tactic for away games, as was displayed in Olympiakos’s opening match against Real Sociedad, but distinction in Europe’s premier competition also requires victory. AEK, which plays Monaco away, also tonight, can score far more easily, but absences have left the club with a defense that’s full of holes – especially when midfielders don’t get back in time to reinforce. This will be needed tonight. Panathinaikos, up against Glasgow Rangers at home tomorrow after a 5-0 away drubbing by Manchester United, is at 80 percent strength. Players are still trying to adapt to recently appointed coach Yitzhak Shum’s game plan. The Scots tomorrow will be no Manchester United, but Panathinaikos must improve on the form it has displayed so far this season in order to hope for victory.

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