CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Saturday, May 15, 2010
Freddy Adu and Aris travel to Pireaus looking to spark the Martian offense, while Eddie Johnson nurses a new injury in preparation for national team duty in South Africa.
The 20-year-old American can expect to feature in the starting lineup for the Thessalonians, a squad plagued by injuries and suspensions.
In addition to Johnson, who sustained a minor hamstring pull last Wednesday, Aris boss Hector Cuper faces not only the suspension of Darcy Dolce Neto, but also injuries to Sakis Prittas, Mehdi Nafti and Sergio Koke. On the other hand, Toni Calvo and Javier Campora make a return to the lineup following one-game suspensions.
Olympiacos skipper Božidar Bandović is also facing injury woes of his own. Veteran keeper Antonios Nikopolidis will miss Sunday's match due to back pain, while Brazilian forward Diogo and midfielders Jaouad Zairi and Jesús Dátolo recover from minor injuries.
Defender Vasilis Torosidis will also be absent due to a bum left ankle, as will fellow backline stalwart Olof Mellberg for a red card picked up in the 1-0 loss to PAOK on Wednesday. Mexican midfielder Enzo Maresca must also serve a suspension for yellow-card accumulation.
The harborside club watched their Champions League aspirations sink at the hands of PAOK on Wednesday, but are trying to maintain a push to finish in second. Meanwhile, Aris can complicate their plans with a win that would put them within reach of a second place finish and a berth in the play-off round of the Europa League.
Aris' sole win of the playoffs came in the first game against Olympiacos, a 2-0 victory courtesy of a pair of Eddie Johnson tallies.