Asteras halt the Olympiacos juggernaut in Tripoli
GREEK SUPERLEAGUE - MATCHDAY 19
|Asteras Tripolis||1 - 1||Olympiacos|
|Iglesias 21'||Ansarifard (P) 38'|
Olympiacos slipped from their perch at the top of the SuperLeague on Sunday after they were held to a 1-1 draw at Asteras Tripolis
The home side took a surprise 21st-minute lead through Walter Iglesias’ header, but that drew an immediate response from Olympiacos, who drew level just before half-time thanks to a Karim Ansarifard penalty after lengthy spells of pressure.
The start of the second half was delayed by 15 minutes when the police opted to use tear gas to disperse a group of Olympiacos fans who tried to enter the Theodoros Kolokotronis stadium without tickets.
There were chances for both sides after the half-time interval, but a combination of poor finishing and some determined defensive work on the part of Asteras, the scoreline remained the same and the hosts celebrated a creditable point.
For Olympiacos, it is the first time they have dropped under the guidance of Oscar Garcia, who presided over three league and cup wins since being appointed on January 5, and leaves them in second place - one point behind new leaders PAOK.
It was an auspicious start for the visitors as the home side came out looking to attack, and their energetic play was rewarded with a goal - albeit coming from a set-piece.
Midfielder Kosmas Tsilianidis whipped over a dangerously delicious free-kick, and Iglesias got the slightest of touches to glance a header into the net past a helpless Silvio Proto in the Olympiacos goal.
That sparked a stepping up of the tempo from Olympiacos, who twice went close through Belgian forward Kevin Mirallas from a pair of free-kicks, one of which flashed past the post and the other cannoned off the crossbar.
The Red and Whites continued to press the home side, and they finally got a breakthrough when Asteras’ former Panathinaikos defender Kostas Triantafyllopoulos brought down Ansarifard in the box.
The 27-year-old Iran international dusted himself down to stroke home his 12th goal of the season in confident fashion.
Kostas Fortounis was introduced for Marko Marin at half-time, and the Greece international did his best to try and spur the reigning champions on to another victory, setting up Mirallas for a strike on goal and creating openings whenever he got forward.
But Asteras held firm for a deserved point which keeps them in seventh place on 27 points.