AEK knocked off top spot after Xanthi draw
GREEK SUPERLEAGUE - MATCHDAY 7
|Xanthi||1 - 1||AEK|
|Brito 40'||Vranjes 88'|
AEK surrendered top spot in the SuperLeague after being held to a 1-1 draw at nine-man Skoda Xanthi in Sunday’s late match, meaning PAOK’s 4-0 romp against Lamia earlier enabled the Salonica club to move one point clear at the summit.
Manolo Jimenez’s AEK failed to perform for the second match running as they fell behind to a goal from Xanthi’s Cape Verde forward Brito five minutes before half-time.
AEK peppered the home goal in the second half as the hosts played out the remainder of the match with a significant numerical disadvantage after the dismissals of captain Kostas Fliskas in the 55th minute and Stratos Svarnas in the 72nd minute. The former was sent off after picking up two yellow cards while the latter saw a straight red for a professional foul.
And the pressure finally paid off two minutes from full-time when Bosnia-Herzegovina defender Ognjen Vranješ pounced to level the scores to at least help AEK avoid what would have been a second defeat in succession.
Vranješ’ goal came after great build-up play and an assist from captain Petros Mantalos, who gained a measure of revenge for some tough tackling tactics employed by the home defenders, as well as a denied penalty claim just after half-time when he was clearly blocked in hte penalty area by Christos Lisgaras.
AEK have struggled for consistent form since the epic 3-2 derby win over Olympiacos at the Olympic Stadium on Matchday 5, and their supporters will be hoping for improvements for Thursday’s trip to AC Milan in the Europa League.