Panionios Continue To Impress (Matchday 20 Recap)

PANIONIOS CONTINUE TO IMPRESS
(MATCHDAY 20 RECAP)

 

While Olympiacos kept their massive lead intact after Matchday 20 of the 2016/17 Greek SuperLeague, it was another team who continue to garner headlines.

Paulo Bento’s men overcame Larisa 2-0 with little trouble on Saturday, but the real story of the weekend occurred early that day when Panionios won at Veria 1-0. That result might have been expected, but the victory brings Panionios into sole possession of 2nd place. 

PAOK will be ruing their lack of killer instinct in front of goal as they dropped points in Xanthi in those two teams’ 0-0 draw. 

A Marcus Berg hat-trick led Panathinaikos past Panetolikos 3-0. The Prasini scoring three of those goals in the last 10 minutes of the game.

On Monday, AEK were held to an action-packed 2-2 draw with Iraklis.

In Crete, a fantastic match saw hosts Platanias and PAS Giannina play out a superb 3-3 draw. Kerkyra heaped more misery on Levadiakos by inflicting on them another defeat, 1-0 on the island. Asteras Tripolis could not make home advantage count as they were beat 1-0 by Atromitos and their new boss Ricardo Sa Pinto.
 

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


OLYMPIACOS - LARISSA

Olympiacos 2 - 0 Larissa
Androutsos 1'
Ideye 9'

It was over after it barely began at the Karaiskakis Stadium on Saturday evening with Olympiacos easily seeing off Larisa courtesy of two early goals. The visitors can thank Gennady Xenodochov for keeping the score to a respectable level as Olympiacos were all over Sakis Tsiolis’ side from the start.

That’s not an exaggeration as the hosts were up 1-0 after only 14 seconds. Seba’s 9th assist of the season giving Thanasis Androutsos his first ever goal for the club in one of the fastest goals in SuperLeague history.

Larisa had a one-on-one opportunity in the 8th minute that Stefano Kapino saved from Andreas Avraam. A minute later the Erythrolefki made their opponents pay by making it 2-0. Brown Ideye scoring his league-leading 13th goal of the season as the Nigerian pounced from close range. 

The rest of the game followed the same pattern with Olympiacos managing 17 shots (9 on target), but unable to score more due to some wayward finishing and Xenodochov’s stellar play. The bad news for Olympiacos is that both Ideye and Tarik Elyounoussi both coming off injured ahead of a busy couple weeks for the club with two Europa League matches against Osmanlispor coming up along with big league tests against AEK and Panionios.

Larisa with the defeat remain on 17 points, but their inability to pick up points in recent weeks means they are still truly in a fight against the drop.

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


PANATHINAIKOS - PANETOLIKOS

Panathinaikos 4 - 0 Panetolikos
Berg 67', 80', 90'+2'
Lod 89'

A Marcus Berg hat-trick paced Panathinaikos to an ultimately comfortable 4-0 home win versus Panetolikos. The away side looked capable of grabbing something from this match for over an hour, but were unable to sustain their defensive performance for the entirety of the game.

The first half was a drab affair at the Leoforos Stadium with Panathinaikos having the bulk of possession, but unable to carve out any openings against a well-organized Panetolikos side. A couple of half chances from Lucas Villafanez and Berg were all the Prasini could muster. In fact it was the visitors who had the half’s best opportunity, but Diego Lopes shot wide when clean through on goal with only Odysseus Vlachodimos to beat.

A string of saves by Dimitris Kyriakidis after the break kept the score at 0-0 as Marinos Ouzounidis’ outfit were much improved and more energetic after halftime. The breakthrough finally came on 67 minutes as Villafanez hit the post, but Berg was on hand to tuck  away the rebound from close range. 13 minutes later it was 2-0 as Berg once again was on the scoresheet firing his second from outside the area. Villafanez played through Robin Lod in the 89th and the Finnish international made it 3-0. Berg completed his hat-trick with a header in injury time. The late goals might have added gloss to the scoreline, but Panathinaikos were worthy of the goals after becoming a different side in the second half.

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


VERIA - PANIONIOS

Veria 0 - 1 Panionios
Nabouhane 8'

Panionios took sole possession of 2nd place in the table with a 1-0 victory at Veria. In a mature display, Vladan Milojevic’s men didn’t impress with their performance, however they once again impressed by picking up another win. There seems to be no stopping the Nea Smyrni side at the moment as they go from strength to strength in the SuperLeague.

Ben was once again the hero for Panionios. The Comoros international taking hold of a bad clearance after just 8 minutes to finish deftly for the 1-0 Panionios lead. It was all that Panionios would need. Veria could not be faulted for effort and Andreas Gianniotis had to deal with a couple of dangerous long-range drives. However, Panionios possessed a strong rearguard that held the hosts at bay.

After halftime, Veria looked lively for a few minutes, however for most of the half they were left frustrated at their inability to get in and behind the Panionios backline. The only real opportunity of the entire second half a free-kick by Milos Stojcev in the 62nd minute which Gianniotis did well to block. 

Panionios continue to fly high with a playoff berth looking increasingly likely. Veria stay rooted to the bottom with the loss and needing a good run to come out of the relegation doldrums. 

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


IRAKLIS - AEK

Iraklis 2 - 2 AEK
Perrone 39'
Monteiro 64'
Vargas 19'
Christodoulopoulos 76'

Iraklis hopes of staying in the SuperLeague were given a boost as they managed to draw 2-2 with red-hot AEK. It was a fair result based on the 90 minutes of action. Iraklis come off the bottom of the league table and are even with Levadiakos on 14 points, but with an inferior goal difference. AEK meanwhile won’t be happy with the result, however they stay within three points of the final playoff place. 

AEK started this topsy-turvy clash well and were ahead in the 19th minute. Petros Mantalos picked up the ball and passed to Ronald Vargas on the wing and the Venezuelan escaped the attention of Leonidas Argyropoulos and finished past Huanderson as the visitors opened the scoring. 

That goal seemed to awaken Iraklis who approached the rest of the half with a sense of urgency. That led to the tying goal six minutes from the break. It came from a well-worked set piece as Leozinho took the free-kick and the onrushing Emanuel Perrone struck the equalizer for Savvas Pantelidis’ team. 

After halftime, Iraklis’ goal seemed to provide the team with the desired boost to do even more. And AEK looked increasingly in trouble as the game approached the midway point of the second half. AEK had most of the possession, but Iraklis were manufacturing the chances. In strange circumstances, Iraklis took the lead just after the hour. 

Ognjen Vranjes played the ball back to Vasilis Barkas in the AEK goal only to be pressured into a bad giveaway by Alexandros Kouros. The ball ended up at the feet of Jorge Monteiro who had little trouble scoring into an empty net as Iraklis went up 2-1. AEK were second best at this stage and looked susceptible to allow more goals. They eventually settled and made it 2-2 with their best attack of the second half. In the 76th minute Lazaros Christodoulopoulos pounced on a rebound after Huanderson had initially saved from Sergio Araujo after a nice build-up that involed ‘Lazaros’, Tomas Pekhart, and the Argentine attacker.

The match had sprung to life by now and a few minutes later AEK were down to 10 men. A second yellow card, this one for diving, saw Michalis Bakakis sent off. The match was becoming a real battle with tackles flying about. Iraklis had the best chance to win it late on, but Leozinho shot over in a one-on-one with Barkas. It could prove to be a gigantic miss if Iraklis end up relegated as it was a wonderful opportunity to take the points.

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


XANTHI - PAOK

Xanthi 0 - 0 PAOK

PAOK remained undefeated in 15 matches, however a 0-0 draw in Xanthi on Sunday dropped Vladan Ivic’s side to 3rd in the standings. PAOK came into the match having won 13 of their last 14 in all competitions, including a Greek Cup victory against this same Xanthi side on Thursday in the same stadium. Xanthi meanwhile manage to stay in the top 5 as they continue to dream for a European spot. 

PAOK looked the more likely to score with two big chances in the first half. Panagiotis Delegiannidis was unable to push the ball over the line from close range in the 11th minute. Then five minutes before halftime it was Stefanos Athanasiadis’ turn to somehow missed an empty net by shooting at goalkeeper Zivko Zivkovic when it was perhaps easier to score. Xanthi had one half chance with a Younes Hamza header, but all in all, Razvan Lucescu’s team appeared happy to sit and play on the counter-attack.

PAOK upped the pressure after the break, however it was a replay of their early season struggles as they created plenty of chances, but were unable to finish them. Zivkovic made fine saves on Diego Biseswar and Fernando Varela either side of the hour mark. Those two stops were perhaps the key moments of the match when PAOK looked so close to a 1-0 lead. Xanthi eventually saw the match out and picked up a point that they will find more valuable than PAOK.

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


ASTERAS TRIPOLIS - ATROMITOS

Asteras Tripolis 0 - 1 Atromitos
Duada 45'

Ricardo Sa Pinto celebrated his first win in his second spell with Atromitos with his side winning away to Asteras Tripolis 1-0. It was Atromitos’ first SuperLeague victory in over a month. Asteras on the other hand are in the midst of a bad patch of form as they are winless in their last five matches (two draws, three defeats). 

Strangely enough it was Asteras who controlled the majority of the match with 67% possession and more numerous chances. However, Abiola Dauda’s 45th minute goal was what separated the two teams. The Nigerian striker finished off a good run by stealing the ball and putting it between the legs of Antonio Donnarumma in the Asteras goal. 

Asteras tried to find the tying goal in the second half and had plenty of the ball, but everything broke down in the final third and they were unable to create chances of quality. Atromitos held out and got back to winning ways. It was a positive week for the club with this victory coming a few days after a 0-0 Greek Cup draw away to Olympiacos. Asteras drop down to 12th with the defeat and now face a renewed urgency to start picking up points again. 

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


PLATANIAS - PAS GIANNINA

Platanias 3 - 3 PAS Giannina
Giakoumakis 32'
Kargas 40'
Signevich 51'
Conde 9', 58'
Tzimopoulos 11'

After last week’s 3-2 PAOK victory over Asteras Tripolis came another match of the season candidate this weekend in Chania. That was where hosts Platanias and PAS Giannina drew 3-3 in an enthralling encounter that had a little bit of everything. 

Giannis Petrakis’ Giannina side came out on fire taking a 2-0 inside 11 minute. Pedro Conde opening the scoring in the 9th minute and Themistoklis Tzimopoulos adding a second two minutes later after goalkeeper Dimitris Sotiriou made a calamitous error  to start the play.

Sotiriou and the home side came back after the poor start. Giorgos Giakoumakis began the comeback with his 7th goal of the season making it 2-1  with a header in the 32nd minute. Five minute from the break, Platanias drew level when Giannis Kargas produced a nice finish from close range after a Giorgos Manousos pass.

The action continued at a frantic pace after halftime with PAS hitting the woodwork in the 50th minute only for Platanias to take the lead and complete the turnaround a minute later. This time the man at the heart of the action was Nikolay Signevich, who ran past two defenders, played a give-and-go with Giannis Stathis and applied the finishing touch to make it 3-2. 

This time though it was Giannina’s turn not to be outdone, specifically through a piece of magic from Conde. The Spanish forward scoring a superb goal from a fantastic effort. The chances came and went after that goal as both teams had good looks for the winner. In the end, the goalkeeping brilliance of Sotiriou kept the visitors at bay and eventually kept the scoreline at 3-3 in a breathtaking affair.

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


KERKYRA - LEVADIAKOS

Kerkyra 1 - 0 Levadiakos
Gomes 34'

Kerkyra took a huge step toward consolidating their top-flight status with a narrow 1-0 win over Levadiakos on Sunday. On the balance of play, perhaps it was an undeserved three points for Michalis Grigoriou’s team, but in the end what counts is surely the victory for the club’s supporters. Levadiakos continued an awful stretch that leaves them fighting for their lives. Next week’s match against Larisa surely has the look of a final to it. 

Levadiakos began the better of the two sides and had superb chances in the 20th and 22nd minutes to open the score. However, Kerkyra goalkeeper Fotis Koutzavasilis denied Vaggelis Mantzios and Toni Silva with fantastic stops. 

Kerkyra were poor for the first half hour, however they scored with their first worthwhile attack on 34 minutes. French Mathieu Gomes firing home at the end of a good team move to give the hosts the 1-0 lead. 

Kerkyra improved with the confidence boost of the lead and had chances to make it 2-0 in the second half. Levadiakos threw everything forward towards the end of the game, but Koutzavasilis was massive in goal for Kerkyra and was equal to every challenge finishing the match with 10 saves. Kerkyra held on for the 1-0 victory, a massive three points that may have clinched their survival in the SuperLeague for another season. 

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

 
by: Giorgos Tsitsonis. Contact the writer at tsitsonisg.agonasport@gmail.com
Thank you for visiting AGONAsport.com, the only English based website for Greek sports fans across the world! Like us on Facebook, follow us on  Instagram, and Twitter for all the latest news in Greek Sports!