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REPORT: TOWN 0-2 OLYMPIACOS

1 December 2022

Important minutes for the squad against the Greek Champions

- Huddersfield Town play Olympiacos in a friendly
- Game concludes week-long training camp in Spain
- Returns from injury for several players

Town’s players concluded their week-long training camp in Marbella, Spain, with a challenging friendly against Greek Champions Olympiacos on Thursday afternoon.

The game, which finished 2-0 to the opposition courtesy of a goal in each half, provided important minutes on the pitch for many players ahead of the restart of the Sky Bet Championship season.

Importantly, several players returned from injury. Chelsea loanee Tino Anjorin played his first 45 minutes for months following his bout of Glandular fever, Danny Ward looked strong after his recent ankle issue and Etienne Camara was back following a hip flexor issue.

The first half exploded into action inside the first 60 seconds when a clever one-two set Congolese international forward Cedric Bakambu into space on the edge of the box, but he volleyed a presentable effort wide of Nicholas Bilokapic’s goal.

Town responded, with Anjorin drifting left to combine with Josh Ruffels – he sent David Kasumu into space inside the Olympiacos penalty area, but he could only shovel an effort wide under pressure.

Real Madrid legend Marcelo lined up at left back for the Greek side and he tried his luck with a typically powerful effort from outside the area in the eighth minute, only for Kasumu to deflect it wide.

Olympiacos had plenty of possession in the opening 45 and threatened again through a 13th minute set piece. Former Fulham man Pajtim Kasami got his head to the corner, forcing Bilokapic to save low to his left.

Bakambu soon sent a quick header well wide of target after Kasami went past right back Brodie Spencer to cross towards the near post, and then Kostas Fortnounis sent a free kick just off target following a foul from Jack Rudoni.

Our opponents finally broke the deadlock in the 39th minute. The ball was worked to our right to Greece international Fortnounis, who stepped infield onto his right foot and sent an unstoppable low effort past Bilokapic’s left side and into the corner.

Australia Under-23 cap Bilokapic had to make another quickfire save as the Greeks looked to double their advantage before the interval, with Kasumu doing well on the follow-up to force Diadie Samassekou to shoot wide by applying pressure on the ball.

Mark Fotheringham changed 10 players for the second half, and a new 3-5-2 formation allowed the men in black to enjoy more of the ball.

Brahima Diarra was a real bright spark in midfield, with his trademark mazy runs causing Olympiacos’ team of internationals real problems at time. Unfortunately for Town, the young Frenchman couldn’t quite find the final ball that would unlock the defence.

Instead, their vice-captain – former Morocco international Youssef El-Arabi, scored the game’s second goal in the 72nd minute, taking full advantage of the space he was afforded just inside Town’s area to hit a rasping, rising drive past Lee Nicholls.

Town continued to work, with Duane Holmes’ cross-field pass soon setting Kaine Kesler-Hayden away down the right. The Aston Villa loanee’s fierce cross was well turned away by goalkeeper Konstantinos Tzolakis.

Despite not finding the breakthrough, it was a very worthwhile workout for Fotheringham's side ahead of the game at Sheffield United on 10 December.

First half team (4-2-3-1)
Nicholas Bilokapic; Brodie Spencer, Tom Lees (c), Michał Helik, Josh Ruffels; David Kasumu, Jack Rudoni; Duane Holmes, Tino Anjorin, Ben Jackson; Danny Ward

Second half team (3-5-2)
Lee Nicholls (c); Loick Ayina, Will Boyle, Luke Mbete; Kaine Kesler-Hayden, Brahima Diarra, Etienne Camara, Duane Holmes, Connor Mahoney; Jordan Rhodes, Kian Harratt

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