How did Matias Almeida make the decision to count more on Levi Garcia in the role of striker and that he himself owes one more ‘thank you’ for the turn in his career that he probably really wanted.
We were heading towards the final of last year’s playoffs and AEK had two games ahead of them to secure a European ticket. Araujo was ruled out through injury, Ansarifard couldn’t offer more than 10-15 minutes with an eye injury, while Amrabad had not performed well at the top of the attack. An alternative – and by convention – solution already existed: Levia Garcia!
The coaching duo on the bench of AEK, consisting of Sokratis Ofrydopoulos and Ilias Kyriakides, decided to dare it, working on it in training.
Thus, in the penultimate game of the season against Aris in ‘Vikelidis’, Livai was at the top of the attack, in a match that could have made history if all the others had not done everything they could to knock down what the he ‘built’ himself.
With two “midfielder” goals in the 53′ and 59′, she put the Union in front of the score with 2-0 and somewhere there it seemed that the European ticket was hers. Then it occurred to her that she had been characterizing her throughout the season, fearing that there was no game she could not lose.
From 78′ to 88′ he collapsed, conceded three goals and was out of Europe. The very next (and last of the process) match against Olympiakos would be pointless.
However, in this match as well, in the 2-3 defeat by the red and whites again with a reversal (from 2-1 to 2-3), Garcia found the net. Again in a way that gave the impression that this man may have made a mistake in his career and instead of being a forward, he chose to be a winger. Unless others chose it for him…
When Almeida saw them, he had not the slightest doubt
In those days, Matias Almeida was already – the next – coach of the team, he had agreed with her and even watched her in two live games, having come to Athens. He saw the matches in which Garcia scored on television and immediately realized that the idea of Ofridopoulos – Kyriakides was very apt.
Levi covered the forward position in a way that would convince someone who has never seen him before that this is his natural place of action on the field.
Having now settled in Greece, Argentinian coach started the circle of contacts with all the players of the team. As SPORT24 had revealed, in the conversation he had with Garcia, he heard the 24-year-old footballer tell him that he really likes playing at the top of the attack and that he feels comfortable in that role.
Realizing his tactical weaknesses when called upon to defend – something that was also confirmed this year, in the derby with PAO -, Almeida had already decided that he would use him as a forward.
The Araujo-Garcia duo that we saw in Agrinio, we will watch many times during the season, especially against teams of this caliber, which are also most of them in the big division. They worked well together, Levi found the goal that will give him psychology and confidence, while the coach felt even more comfortable with this particular choice.
And just like that, a player’s career looks set to take a drastic turn in his favor at almost 25.