Olympiacos Win, Open Up Massive Lead (Matchday 2 Recap)

Olympiacos Win, Open Up Massive Lead
(Matchday 2 Recap)

 

The main story from the delayed Matchday 2 of the 2016/17 Greek SuperLeague was Olympiacos effectively ending discussion about a title race. That is because Paulo Bento’s side not only defeated Xanthi 2-0 away from home to go 12 points clear at the top, but some of their main rivals also lost once again.

Xanthi’s long unbeaten run ended at the hands of the Erythrolefki who had little trouble picking up their 12th win from 14 matches. That consistency is in stark contrast with the likes of PAOK and AEK. PAOK, having won their last three league matches, dominated all facets of their game against PAS Giannina, except for the goals, as Giannis Petrakis’ side ran out 1-0 winners in Toumba.

AEK were disappointing again as they lost in Tripoli to Asteras 3-2. Panathinaikos got back in the win column on Monday night with a 1-0 victory over Kerkyra. Most of the match was played with a driving snowstorm as many of this weekend’s matches were effected by cold weather and snow. 

Panionios were amongst the big winners this weekend. Vladan Milojevic saw his team defeat Panetolikos 2-0 and move up to 2nd in the standings.

Platanias won their 3rd match in succession by getting past Larisa 3-2. Match play began on Saturday afternoon as Atromitos saw off the challenge of faltering Levadiakos 2-0.  

The match between Veria and Iraklis, postponed on Saturday and then Sunday due to poor weather conditions, will now be played this Wednesday.


XANTHI - OLYMPIACOS

Xanthi 0 - 2 Olympiacos
Ideye 38'
Milivojevic 89'

Olympiacos picked up perhaps their biggest victory yet in this season’s SuperLeague as they comfortably won at in-form Xanthi 2-0 on Sunday. The win stretches Paulo Bento’s team’s lead atop the standings to 12 points with nearly half the season concluded.

In the AGONAsport Match of the Week, the Erythrolefki didn’t dominate, but they did control large parts of the contest. Xanthi for once in the last few months were unable to create the chances need to consistently trouble the Olympiacos backline. Younes Hamza was a threat from set-pieces and crosses especially, but the Tunisian was not as dangerous as in recent matches.

Brown Ideye’s 10th goal of the season gave the visiting side the lead a few minutes before the half. The second half began with Xanthi trying to push forward more with a couple of half chances created. Just before the hour mark, tensions reached boiling point as a horror tackle by Christos Lisgaras on Seba saw the teams and benches come together. Lisgaras was eventually red carded, but as Seba for lashing out on Karim Soltani as he try to get up from the pitch.

The second half continued in subdued fashion without any major chances. That was until late on when a Luka Milivojevic free-kick gave Olympiacos the 2-0 advantage and closed out the game.

The victory puts Olympiacos 12 points clear of Xanthi, who remain in second place, and the title race seems no more. It would take a capitulation of historic proportions for Bento’s men not to win another league title now. 

*More on this match, including highlights, can be found here...


PANATHINAIKOS - KERKYRA

Panathinaikos 1 - 0 Kerkyra
Leto 84'

Panathinaikos left it late, but were able to bounce back from last week’s 1-0 defeat to Platanias by getting past Kerkyra 1-0. Sebastien Leto’s well-executed header in the 84th minute was enough to break down a stubborn Kerkyra side. The Argentine attacker steered home Panagiotis Vlachodimos’ cross to give his team a hard-earned victory.

The weather conditions for this match were less than ideal with play being halted during the second half in order to clear the snow off the pitch to see the line markings. It was no surprise then that the game was low on quality. Panathinaikos had the biggest chance of the first half when Dimitris Kourbelis’ long-range blast came back off the crossbar in the 27th minute.

Marinos Ouzounidis’ men controlled the game, but in the second half the chances were at a premium with both teams unable to create much during what was in effect a whiteout. Leto popped up at the perfect time to score the winner with his header (from Vlachodmios corner) and the Prasini held on as Kerkyra tried for a late equalizer. 

The win marks Panathinaikos’ first since December 11th and brings them back up to a three-way tie for 2nd place (on 25 points along with Panionios and Xanthi). Kerkyra remain in 12th place with the loss (13 points) and still winless in six away fixtures.

*More on this match, including highlights, can be found here...


PAOK - PAS GIANNINA

PAOK 0 - 1 PAS Giannina
Tzimopoulos 16'

In front of a sparse crowd in Toumba due to the cold weather, PAOK were themselves frozen out as PAS Giannina picked up a fortuitous 1-0 win. Fortuitous because PAOK once again created boatloads of chances to win the game, but a career-defining match for Alexandros Paschalakis in the PAS goal saw PAOK come away with nothing. Themistoklis Tzimopoulos’s goal in the 17th minute, his second goal in as many games, was the difference.

PAOK managed 28 shots over the 90 minutes, 17 on target (Paschalakis finished with 17 saves), and had 70% of the possession, but ultimately could not make the breakthrough. Paschalakis’ display was inspiring and the one time he was beaten the post was there to save Giannina, specifically on Stefanos Athanasiadis’ 88th minute deflected effort.

The loss leaves PAOK incredibly in 8th place, a full 17 points from leaders Olympiacos. PAS meanwhile climb back into the playoff places with the win that puts them on 22 points.

*More on this match, including highlights, can be found here...


PANETOLIKOS - PANIONIOS

Panetolikos 0 - 2 Panionios
Masoud 59'
Masouras 74'

Another strong performance saw Panionios climb to 2nd in the table after their 2-0 away win over Panetolikos. It was an even first half in Agrinio with Panionios starting better and Panetolikos slowly growing into the match. 0-0 at the half was a fair result based on the first 45 minutes of play. 

The second half was a different story as Panionios took the match by the scruff of the neck. Masoud Shojaei, so much the creative driving force of this team, pounced on a defensive miscue on 59 minutes to make it 1-0 to the visitors. 

Panetolikos were unable to mount a response and thus came a second goal for Panionios with 15 minutes left. Another mistake by the home side backline saw the ball fall into the path of Giorgos Masouras who gladly stroked his shot to make it game, set, and match to the away team. Panetolikos remain in 10th place with the defeat, still on 16 points. 

*More on this match, including highlights, can be found here...


ASTERAS TRIPOLIS - AEK

Asteras Tripolis 3 - 2 AEK
Stanisavlljevic 49'
Igor 66'
Tsoukalas 81'
Pekhart 36', 68'


Asteras Tripolis came from behind to beat AEK 3-2 on Saturday. It was a big win for the Arkades which sees them rise to 11th in the table, with an ever growing distance between Dimitris Elefteropoulos’ team and the relegation zone. For AEK, it was a defeat that has the club close to crisis once again as the season is turning into a nightmare. 

Despite, the adverse weather conditions and a frozen pitch, both teams combined to produce an intriguing game. After a slow start, the chances began to come mostly from set pieces. Heading toward halftime with the score 0-0, AEK struck first blood on 38 minutes. Czech striker Tomas Pekhart beating Antonio Donnarumma with a header after a pinpoint cross from Lazaros Christodoulopoulos. 

A static AEK defense allowed an equalizer five minutes after the break as Aleksandar Stanisavljevic made it 1-1 from inside the box. In the 66th minute, Asteras took the lead when Igor Carioca took advantage of more passive defense from the visitors to beat Vasilis Barkas in the AEK goal. 

Jose Morais’ side hit back immediately as Pekhart equalized in the 68th. The Czech picking up Jakob Johansson’s pass to score his second. 

Just as AEK were gaining a foothold again in the match, disaster struck. Ognjen Vranjes elbowed new Asteras signing Michalis Manias and received a red card for his indiscretion. The momentum had swung once again and the home team capitalized once and for all ten minutes from time. Stavros Tsoukalas finishing off a counter-attack by sweeping home Nikos Kaltsas’ cross. The loss drops AEK to 8th in the table as supporters continue to voice their frustrations at the club for the miserable season they are enduring. 

*More on this match, including highlights, can be found here...


ATROMITOS - LEVADIAKOS

Atromitos 2 - 0 Levadiakos
Tonso 25', 90+3'

A Martin Tonso brace brought Atromitos back to winning ways as they defeated Levadiakos 2-0 on Saturday. It was Atromitos’ first win after a three match winless run. Conversely, Levadiakos slumped to their fifth consecutive defeat as they remain close to the relegation zone. 

Atromitos came out the stronger of the two sides at the Peristeri Stadium with some big early chances. It was no surprise then when the home team opened the scoring on 25 minutes. Tonso finishing superbly after the impressive Stanislav Namasco couldn’t properly clear a cross. 

Atromitos were always on top it seemed, but they escaped in the match’s defining moment in the 73rd minute. Matthaios Kapsakis’ wonderful slalom run ending with his shot rattling the bar. It was the visitors’ best moment. Atromitos added their second at the death with the Argentine Tonso grabbing his second of the day after an assist from Anthony Le Tallec. Atromitos move up to 6th with the win as their playoff aspirations are alive and well once again. 

*More on this match, including highlights, can be found here...


PLATANIAS - LARISSA

Platanias 3 - 2 Larissa
Munafo 45'
Pryndeta 54'
73' Manousos
Nazlidis (p) 59', 90'+1'


Platanias picked up their 3rd straight win by overcoming Larisa at home 3-2. Giorgo Paraschos’ players produced another strong performance, particularly in the second half to pick up three more points which brings them to 20 on the season and currently tied for 8th place with PAOK.

The adverse weather conditions saw a hard-fought first half, but no clear-cut chances. That was until the stroke of halftime when Juan Muanfo neatly finished from close range to give the club from Chania the lead. 

As tends to happen, that late goal gave Platanias a boost and nine minutes after the break they were two up. Vitaliy Pryndeta headed home a corner after Larisa goalkeeper Gennady Xenodochov saw the ball fly over his attempt to grab it. 

Five minutes later, Thomas Nazlidis scored from the spot to pull a goal back for the Vyssini after a Yaya Banana hand ball. Just as Larisa were pressing to make it 2-2, Platanias extended their lead in the 76th minute. A fine counter-attacking move ended with Giorgos Manousos making it 3-1. Nazlidis secured his brace in the 91st minute, but it was all too late and Larisa ran out of time for an equalizer. 

*More on this match, including highlights, can be found here...


VERIA - IRAKLIS

Veria PP Iraklis

The match between Veria and Iraklis was postponed due to the heavy snowfall in Imathia.

 
by: Giorgos Tsitsonis. Contact the writer at tsitsonisg.agonasport@gmail.com
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