Christmas cheer in short supply for wasteful Panathinaikos
GREEK SUPERLEAGUE - MATCHDAY 15
|Xanthi||1 - 1||Panathinaikos|
|Jendrisek 79'||Altman 18'|
Panathinaikos failed to give their suffering supporters a slice of Christmas cheer on Sunday as the Greens stalled to a 1-1 draw at Xanthi.
Israeli striker Omri Altman had given Marinos Ouzounidis’ team the perfect platform to win the game when he put the Athens giants ahead after just 18 minutes.
But after missing several chances to extend their lead and playing some good football, Panathinaikos were punished 11 minutes from time by Xanthi, who equalised through Erik Jendrišek.
There were still chances for Panathinaikos to pinch a late winner, but substitute Oscar Hiljemark missed two great opportunities to score in added time.
The result leaves Panathinaikos languishing down in 10th place, 16 points adrift of leaders Olympiacos, who went into the Christmas break as “winter champions.”
At least Panathinaikos fans can point to some good signs from their inconsistent team, with the overall picture being a promising one for Ouzounidis’ men.
After taking the lead through Altman’s clinical shot on the turn following a corner, Xanthi goalkeeper Živko Živković had to be at his very best to deny Altman a second goal just four minutes later when he was sent clean through on goal by Lucas Villafanez’s smart pass.
Panathinaikos kept knocking on Živković’s door but the Serbian custodian pulled off another good save to deny 19-year-old Greek forward Sotiris-Pantelis Pispas mid-way through the first half.
The tempo of the match slowed significantly in the second half, with Panathinaikos stepping off the gas while also exposing themselves too much at the back. And they were made to pay dearly in the 79th minute when Vasilios Fasidis was allowed space to send over a precise cross for Jendrišek, who lost his marker Tasos Avlonitis to score with a superb header.