Big Shocks And Perfect Records Gone (Matchday 5 Recap)

-- BIG SHOCKS AND PERFECT RECORDS GONE --
(Matchday 5 Recap)

 

Though only a paltry 8 goals were scored in 8 matches over the weekend, Matchday 5 of the Greek SuperLeague still had plenty of drama and surprises. The biggest story of the weekend was defending champion Olympiacos’ 1-0 defeat away to Larisa. A late own goal condemned Paulo Bento’s team to their first loss of the season. 

The weekend’s other result sending shockwaves through the SuperLeague was Veria’s 2-1 away to Panionios. The Vasilissa tou Vorra had looked poor in their first two matches and Panionios had contrastingly impressed, but Veria rode a Pablo Vitti brace for the surprise win. 

In other matches, 0-0’s were everywhere. AEK and Iraklis could not be separated. The Enosi had the upper hand, but they were unable to break down Iraklis. Panathinaikos could not find goals in Agrinio against Panetolikos while PAOK were also disappointed at home as Xanthi’s staunch resistance saw that game too finish 0-0. There were no goals in Giannina either as PAS and Platanias played out a dour 0-0 draw.

Elsewhere, there was a relative goal feast in Livadeia as Levadiakos held on to defeat Kerkyra 2-1. In Peristeri, Atromitos notched their first win of the season by overcoming Asteras Tripolis, who remain pointless on the season.

Six teams entered the weekend with perfect records; however all six either lost or drew and thus no side has maximum points after three matches.

*For the current SuperLeague standings click here or visit the Greek SuperLeague home page for more.

LARISSA - OLYMPIACOS

Larissa 1 - 0 Olympiacos
Golias 90'+2'

A 92nd minute own goal by Luka Milivojevic handed Larisa a massive 1-0 victory over Olympiacos. It was a fascinating match at the AEL FC Arena, if not in quality, then in tension for sure. It was an open affair that featured many chances throughout with goalkeepers Gennadi Xenodochof and Stefanos Kapino with much to do throughout. Olympiacos had the ball in the back of the net early on, however Tarik Elyounoussi’s neat finish was ruled out correctly for offside.

In a back and forth affair, it was clear that Larisa were producing their best performance of the season and also apparent that Olympiacos are still suffering the effects of a turbulent summer which shook the usual stability of the Greek champions. 

While the match veered toward the fourth 0-0 draw of the weekend, Larisa’s Nikos Golias’ shot was deflected into the net by Milivojevic’s out-stretched leg to give Larisa the late win. The goal sparked mad celebrations in the stands and on the pitch where Aggelos Anastasiadis did his best Jurgen Klopp impression. It is the sixth time Anastasiadis has beaten Olympiacos as a manager and first time with a team other than PAOK.

On the strength of this performance, Larisa could have aspirations of at least a midtable finish. For Olympiacos this was yet another disjointed display. The defeat will surely put Olympiacos under further scrutiny and give their title rivals massive hope that they can wrest the league title away from the Piraeus side this season.

*More on this match can be found here...

PANETOLIKOS - PANATHINAIKOS

Panetolikos 0 - 0 Panathinaikos

It was honors even in Agrinio where Panetolikos and Panathinaikos played out a 0-0 stalemate. Unlike the 0-0 match between PAS Giannina and Platanias, there was a better tempo in this game with more scoring opportunities. 

Panathinaikos did have the ball in the back of the net after 42 minutes through Robin Lod after a Marcus Berg pass. However, that goal was called back due to the linesman flagging Berg offside. Replays showed that the decision was wrong and that the goal should have stood. 

Panetolikos were very strong for the first hour of the game and matched their opponents for chances and overall quality of play. In the last third of the match, the Prasini looked fresher and had opportunities to win it, however wayward finishing combined with the solid play of Dimitris Kyriakidis in the Panetolikos goal kept Andrea Strammacioni’s side at bay as the teams shared the spoils.

*More on this match can be found here...

PAOK - XANTHI

PAOK 0 - 0 Xanthi

A highly physical battle at the Toumba Stadium saw neither PAOK nor Xanthi make the breakthrough in a 0-0 draw. PAOK were on top throughout, however O Dikefalos tou Vorra were unable to find the composure need in front of goal despite several strong chances. Xanthi on the other hand were very solid and will feel as though they were full value for their point. 

PAOK dominated play from start to finish, but ultimately paid the price of two lost points for their poor finishing. Xanthi goalkeeper Zivko Zivkovic was very strong having come up with more than a few great stops. The ill-tempered clash saw Dorde Lazic sent off with 20 minutes left for his second bookable offense.

*More on this match can be found here...

ATROMITOS - ASTERAS TRIPOLIS

Atromitos 1 - 0 Asteras Tripolis
Umbides 42'

A 42nd minute Javier Umbides strike gave Atromitos a narrow 1-0 win over Asteras Tripolis. The defeat, Asteras’ third in a row, leaves them without a point yet in the SuperLeague. Meanwhile, Atromitos ended a chaotic week, which saw Traianos Dellas lose his job, to get their first win and points of the campaign.

Atromitos came out looking the stronger side from the opening whistle. As Asteras grew into the game, it was the Tripolis side that looked superior on the pitch. So, on 42 minutes, Umbides’ goal came against the run of play. Umbides found himself in possession and scored with superb shot from outside the box to give the home side the advantage. 

It was all that Atromitos would need. Asteras probably deserved a goal for their efforts as they created three massive chances just minutes into the second half.  Asteras midfielder Matias Iglesias was sent off with 18 minutes left. That killed off any momentum Asteras had put together and Atromitos ended the match the stronger team and had opportunities to make it 2-0. The loss surely puts Asteras manager Makis Chavos under extreme pressure with trust in him seemingly vanishing.

*More on this match can be found here...

PANIONIOS - VERIA

Panionios 1 - 2 Veria
N'Gog 81' Vitti 17', 45'

One the shocks of the season thus far came in Nea Smyrni as Veria persevered past Panionios 2-1 away. It was supposed to be a walk in the park for Panionios who had won both their previous matches in the young season and having displaying some good, attacking football in the process. Veria came into the game having lost head coach Alekos Vosniadis as Apostolos Terzis took over as interim manager (the permanent position has gone to Thomas Grafas).

A Pablo Vitti first-half brace was enough for Veria to spring a big surprise on their hosts. Vitti powerfully headed home a corner to open the scoring in the 18th minute. While Panionios pressed for an equalizer, Veria were coping well and just before the break they doubled their lead. Giorgi Navalovski stole the ball from Ben and dished off to Vitti who expertly finished making it 2-0.

Panionios were much improved in the second half and the introduction of striker David N’Gog was a main reason why. The French attacker was superb and with eight minutes left he produced a fine header to pull a goal back. Veria can thank goalkeeper Jonathan Lopez for holding onto the win as Masoud Shojaei went for the chip only for the Spanish keeper to provide the save of the afternoon late on.

*More on this match can be found here...

PAS GIANNINA - PLATANIAS

PAS Giannina 0 - 0 Platanias

Platanias kept their unbeaten record to start the campaign intact with a goalless draw away to PAS Giannina. It was a dour game for the most part at Zosimades as the two sides managed few chances between them over the 90 minutes. The state of the pitch may have been to blame as both teams could not get to grip with the poor quality of the field. 

Anything of note in this match came in the second half; such was the low standard of play in the first 45 minutes. The level picked up after the break with some semblance of chances finally created. The best chance of the game fell to Giorgos Giakoumakis in injury time; however he fired over the goal after being well placed just a few yards out. Just before that action, Andi Lila was given his marching orders after a second yellow. The draw helps give Platanias their best ever start in the top-flight as they have amassed seven points from three matches.

*More on this match can be found here...

LEVADIAKOS - KERKYRA

Levadiakos 2 - 1 Kerkyra
Silva 20'
Mantzios 30'
Arnarellis 89'

Levadiakos picked up their first victory in the 2016/17 SuperLeague with a hard-fought 2-1 decision over Kerkyra. A massive error by Kerkyra goalkeeper, Fotis Koutzavasilis, allowed Toni Silva to pounce to make it 1-0. Just 10 minutes after that first setback, Kerkyra allowed a second, once again from another defensive lapse. Koutzavasilis and defender Vladimir Dimitrovski did not communicate well between each other and Dimitrovski could only help kick the ball into the path of Vaggelis Mantzios who slotted in a second goal.

It should have been done and dusted for Ratko Dostanic’s side, but Kerkyra came back after the break. Michalis Grigoriou has put together a team with some good spirit within the ranks and they collectively summoned up a quality second half performance. After missing several chances, the island club finally made the breakthrough a minute from full time. Alexandros Arnarellis got on the scoresheet after he finished off a play that was started by a Thuram shot. 5 minutes into injury time, Kerkyra nearly scored a dramatic equalizer. It was not to be though as Thuram’s free-kick came back off the post allowing Levadiakos supporters to breathe a huge sigh of relief.

*More on this match can be found here...

AEK - IRAKLIS

AEK 0 - 0 Iraklis

Another 0-0 draw marked the end of Matchday 5 as AEK had to settle for a point against Iraklis on Monday night at the Olympic Stadium. It was a frustrating evening for the hosts as Temur Ketsbaia’s team missed a big opportunity to pick up their third straight win. 

After Olympiacos, PAOK, and Panathinaikos all dropped points this weekend, the smart money was on AEK to claim a victory that would put them alone at the top of the SuperLeague standings. A Patito Rodriguez chance after 10 minutes was AEK’s best opportunity of the first half with Didac Vila fluffing an opportunity in the 67th minute. Those were AEK’s two best opportunities. Iraklis soaked up pressure very well and were happy to get numbers behind the ball and play the game at a slower tempo. 

In the end it’s a vital point for an Iraklis side who have shown in their last two matches they won’t be the easy favorites for relegation they were being made out to be. For AEK, it’s a missed opportunity and supporters won’t be pleased with the performance ahead of next week’s big derby against Olympiacos.

*More on this match can be found here...
 
by: Giorgos Tsitsonis. Contact the writer at tsitsonisg.agonasport@gmail.com
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