AEK Claim Epic Derby Victory (Matchday 5 Recap)

AEK Claim Epic Derby Victory
(Matchday 5 Recap)

 

GREEK SUPERLEAGUE - MATCHDAY 5

Date Home Team Score Apollon Smyrnis
23-Sep-17 Apollon Smyrnis 0 - 1 Platanias
23-Sep-17 Atromitos 3 - 0 Lamia
23-Sep-17 Panetolikos 2 - 0 Panathinaikos
24-Sep-17 PAOK 1 - 0 PAS Giannina
24-Sep-17 Kerkyra 1 - 1 Levadiakos
24-Sep-17 Panionios 4 - 1 Larissa
24-Sep-17 AEK 3 - 2 Olympiacos
25-Sep-17 Xanthi 0 - 0 Asteras Tripolis

AGONAsport’s George Tsitsonis brings you a full recap of matchday 5 action in the Greek SuperLeague. For all the latest fixtures and result visit here. For the the up to date Supereague standings visit here

Watch the Champions League fixture between Juventus and Olympiacos LIVE from AGONAsport.com on Wednesday, Sept 27th. Details here!

In one of the most thrilling derby matches in recent memory, AEK defeated Olympiacos 3-2 in the highlight of Matchday 5 action. Manolo Jimenez’s side had to produce an epic comeback in order to claim the three points which puts them five ahead now of Olympiacos just five matches into the 2017/18 Greek Super League season.

Petros Mantalos was on hand in the 89th minute to score the winner for AEK amidst jubilant scenes at the Olympic Stadium in Athens. Earlier in the half though it looked as though Olympiacos were destined for the win. A fantastic lob from Marko Marin had given Olympiacos a 1-0 halftime lead before Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe’s well-placed effort made 2-0 just  after the break.

Lazaros Christodoulopoulos handed his team a lifeline with his 62nd minute goal. Shortly after, play was ground to a halt as tear gas from outside the stadium found its way into the ground. Instead of cutting AEK’s momentum, the short stoppage only seemed to help the hosts. Christodoulopoulos made it 2-2 with an absolutely amazing free-kick 11 minutes from time before Marko Livaja assisted for Mantalos’ winner just one minute from full-time. Tensions flared toward the end as Bjorn Engels and Uros Cosic both were red-carded after a melee ensued. 

Weekend play began on Saturday where Panathinaikos slumped to another defeat as Panetolikos were superb in their 2-0 over the Prasini. Platanias defeated Apollon Smyrni 1-0 away from home, a result that cost Apollon manager Akis Mantzios his job. Also on Saturday, Atromitos swept past Lamia 3-0, Giorgos Manousos grabbing a brace after Amr Warda had opened the scoring for Atromitos.

Before Sunday’s derby drama, three other matches took place. PAOK look to be recovering nicely from an early-season blip by defeating PAS Giannina 1-0, thanks once again to Aleksandar Prijovic who scored the only goal of the contest in the 55th minute.

Panionios completely battered Larisa 4-1 to move up to 2nd in the table, two points behind AEK and even with PAOK on 11 points. Levadiakos were denied a victory away to Kerkyra. Ibrahima Niasse had given the visitors the lead just before the break only for a Denis Epstein penalty in the 53rd minute to draw the home side level. Epstein could have won it in the 56th minute penalty, but his tame effort from 12 yards was easily saved by Devis Epassy. That penalty came just after Levadiakos were reduced to 10 men due to Leonardo’s red card.  

On Monday, Xanthi and Asteras Tripolis played out a largely uninspiring 0-0 draw in Xanthi. The visitors will be the much happier side with the point gained. 


Matchday MVP

There were a few standout performances this weekend. However, Lazaros Christodoulopoulos takes this week’s award. The 30-year-old produced one of the best performances of his career in AEK’s derby win over Olympiacos. Sensational as his second goal was, it was not only the brace that made the Greek international standout. It’s apparent that Christodoulopoulos has grown into a leader at AEK and it was his belief that helped propel the Kitrinomavri to that amazing comeback.


Goal of the Matchday

Had his goal been scored in one of the world’s bigger leagues, then Lazaros Christodoulopoulos’ free-kick on Sunday evening would have gone viral instantaneously. Regardless of the exposure this beautiful kick gets, this was one of the best free-kick goals seen in recent years. The perfect blend of power, precision, and swerve, Christodoulopoulos hit this free-kick about as good as a player could. The end result was a majestic goal from 25 yards that will long live on in the hearts of AEK fans for years to come. 


Save of the Matchday

Markos Vellidis produced a superb save in the 53rd minute of the match between PAOK and PAS Giannina. The PAS ‘keeper was facing a close range shot from Aleksandar Prijovic after the PAOK striker got a hold of a loose ball in the area. Prijovic’s shot was deflected and Vellidis was already going the wrong way. That’s when the 30-year-old Kastoria-born goalkeeper was alert enough to try to swing his body back. He extended an arm out, knocked the ball down, bobbled it for a second before getting a strong hand to push it out wide. 


Play of the Matchday

AEK’s winner was a well-worked move. Marko Livaja and Kostas Galanopoulos played a 1-2 at the top of the box on the right side. The Croatian took off on the right and sent a well-driven ball across the face of the  goal. Mantalos crashed the back post and was rewarded as he slid the ball home. 3-2 to AEK in the final minutes of the game and a great play to produce the winner. 


Team Performance of the Matchday

Panionios did well on Sunday, but then again who hasn’t when playing Larisa? So, team performance of the week undoubtedly goes to AEK. Even at 2-0 down, there could have been a case made that AEK hadn’t played that badly. However, a truly remarkable final 30 minutes by Jimenez’s men saw them put together a wonderful comeback. That alone, in a match of such importance sees AEK head and shoulders above everyone else this weekend. 


Surprise of the Matchday

Panetolikos did well to pick up their first win of the season, a solid 2-0 win over Panathinaikos. Franco Mazurek and Clesio grabbing the goals for the Agrinio club. While Panathinaikos have deep problems on and off the pitch, they were expected to bounce back against their opponents. Instead, Panetolikos took advantage of the match early on and surprised many observers by picking up the victory.


Disappointment of the Matchday

Olympiacos looked as though they were cruising at 2-0 up just after halftime. With such an experienced group of players, it looked as though it would be three big points in the bag for the defending champions. It was not to be however. Olympiacos capitulated in the final half hour, looking like a team that just doesn’t have the belief or guile of previous sides. While the title race is not yet over, Olympiacos must show a resilience and toughness they failed to show in a total second half breakdown against AEK. 

 
by George Tsitsonis
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