Loan watch: Sharp Silva starts Aris victory
Xande Silva was rewarded for his impressive recent form with a second start for Aris Thessaloniki FC as they cruised to a 3-0 victory over OFI Crete.
The West Ham United loanee had earlier this month netted his first goal and recorded his first two assists in senior football for the Super League Greece hopefuls, particularly impressing as a second-half impact substitute in the 2-2 draw at Atromitos.
Silva had therefore well and truly earned his starting berth on the right flank of Aris’ three-pronged attack, and played for 71 minutes against midtable OFI on Saturday.
The Portuguese forward set out to make his presence felt, almost finding the top corner with a drive from a tight angle inside the opening 20 seconds of the match.
Merely 30 seconds later, Silva had another opportunity when the subsequent goal-kick went straight to Dimitris Manos, who tried to play in the Portuguese forward. A footrace ensued which OFI goalkeeper Dimitris Sotiriou won by a fraction of a second, clearing his lines.
Every time the 23-year-old received the ball, he was looking sharp and threatening, eight minutes later flashing the ball across goal where Manos – somehow – could not make contact.
Aris got the lead their general dominance deserved on 29 minutes when Facundo Bertoglio tapped in from a spilled Manos shot, and the Argentine grabbed his second moments before half-time with a poacher’s effort from a corner flicked on at the near post.
OFI Crete enjoyed some clear-cut chances to get back into the match after half-time but failed to take them, and following Silva’s substitution for Daniel Mancini, Aris added a third from the penalty spot through Javier Matilla.
Aris’ seventh win in nine Super League Greece games – and ninth in twelve games overall – maintained their title bid, as they pursue leaders Olympiakos three points ahead of them.
Elsewhere, fellow Academy graduates Dan Kemp and Olatunji Akinola were unused substitutes for League One side Blackpool and League Two club Leyton Orient respectively.