10-man Greens Hang on for Vital Point in Nea Smyrni
GREEK superleague playoffs - MATCHDAY 1
|Panionios||1 - 1||Panathinaikos|
|Masouras 56'||Berg 38'|
Panathinaikos held Panionios to a 1-1 draw to secure a crucial point in their opening SuperLeague playoff contest despite playing for 78 minutes with 10 players after captain Zeca was sent off.
Despite losing Zeca so early in the game after the naturalized Greek midfielder was dismissed for hauling back Panionios’ midfielder Masoud Shojaei, it was the Trifili who went in front at the Nea Smyrni stadium thanks to who else but Sweden striker Marcus Berg.
Panathinaikos looked in determined mood as they took their slender lead into the dressing rooms at half-time, and it seemed as though they might be able to shut up shop and hold on for the second half.
Panionios, who have had a memorable season, had other ideas however, and the home side’s young Greek striker Giorgos Masouras brought his team level after 56 minutes.
From then on it was Panionios who took control of proceedings, penning the visitors in their own half but without creating clear scoring chances against a determined Greens rearguard.
There were appeals for a penalty from the home side in the 79th minute when midfielder Manolis Siopis was challenged by Panathinaikos centre back Rodrigo Moledo, but the referee waved play on.
Marinos Ouzounidis’ team held firm in the closing stages and almost pinched a dramatic late win when Sebastian Leto volleyed goalwards, only to see his effort denied with a smart save by home keeper Andrea Gianniotis.
A draw is not how either side would have liked to begin their playoff campaign, but at least it gets Panionios off the mark. The Nea Smyrni side now have one point, while Panathinaikos have two points.