AEK go top after edging ill-tempered derby against PAOK

AEK go top after edging ill-tempered derby against PAOK


AEK 1 - 0 PAOK
Livaja 25'

AEK Athens moved top of the SuperLeague after edging out title rivals PAOK 1-0 on Sunday thanks to a goal from Marko Livaja in a fractious North-South derby at the Olympic Stadium which saw both teams having players sent off.

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Livaja netted in the crucial strike in the 25th minute from an Andre Simoes pass, despite AEK being at a numerical disadvantage after having Sergio Araujo sent off after just eight minutes for striking Carlos Zambrano in the face.

The Argentine forward will now miss the upcoming Athens derby against Panathinaikos on November 19.

Zambrano then followed Araujo for an early bath in the 35th minute when he picked up a second booking for a foul on Livaja, while PAOK’s Dutch midfielder Diego Biseswar was also shown a straight red card late on.

AEK move above Atromitos into top spot as a result of the win, although both teams have 20 points. PAOK lie third just two points behind while Olympiacos are fourth a further point adrift. Panathinaikos are four points further back in seventh.

The match was dotted with some scrappy fouls and over-zealous tackling from both teams, perhaps taking their cue from the pumped up home fans who fought running battles with police before kick-off.

Both teams had an equal share of the possession and some decent further chances, with PAOK coming closest to an equaliser with two late chances.

The first came in the 71st minute when Biseswar flashed an effort just wide of AEK goalkeeper Giannis Anestis’ goal, then with just four minutes of normal time Omar El Kaddouri’s low cross fizzed inches wide of Anestis’ goal with PAOK striker Aleksandar Prijović agonisingly close to getting a touch.

The match ended on a sour note when Biseswar was dismissed after hitting out at AEK midfielder Tasos Bakasetas. Subsequently, AEK coach Jimenez was also sent to the stands for rushing over to confront Biseswar.

by Graham Wood
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