Lacklustre Olympiacos held to draw by Levadiakos
GREEK SUPERLEAGUE - MATCHDAY 26
|Levadiakos||1 - 1||Olympiacos|
|Niasse 4'||Ansarifard 49'|
Olympiacos’ slim hopes of retaining their SuperLeague title all but disappeared on Saturday after the Piraeus giants had to fight back from a goal down just to earn a point from a deflating 1-1 draw with lowly Levadiakos.
Oscar Garcia’s men returned to action needing a win to keep the pressure on AEK and PAOK after the two-week suspension of matches, but instead the Erythrolefki delivered a woefully flat performance.
While the draw moves Olympiacos on to 54 points - level with second-placed AEK - according to the official standings, this does not take into account the 3-point deduction punishment for the violence in the February derby clash with AEK.
Olympiacos have appealed and the result is likely to be announced next week - after which the table will be amended.
Olympiacos started at snail’s pace and seemed to be still trying to get their bearings when Senegalese defender Ibrahima Niasse rose highest to plant a superb header past Silvio Proto unmarked from a corner.
Proto’s body language said it all as the Belgian keeper gave his defenders a scornful glare. Olympiacos were truly awful in the first half with the home side missing a chance to make it 2-0 just before the break.
Whatever Garcia said to his players in the dressing rooms at half-time seemed to have the desired effect as the visitors came out showing more urgency in their play as well as more attacking impetus.
Sure enough, an equaliser soon came after just four minutes, with Iran striker Karim Ansarifard netting his 13th striker of the campaign with a cool finish from an exquisite Leonardo Koutris pass.
There was a suspicion of offside for the goal and replays later showed that the referee had got it wrong and that the goal should not have counted.
Olympiacos grew in confidence after scoring the goal, piling on the pressure and dominating possession, and Ansarifard wasted a golden chance to put the visitors ahead in the 71st minute.
The Iranian striker was again on the receiving end of a great ball from Koutri, but this time Levadiakos’ French goalkeeper Devis Epassy produced a superb save.
Epassy was at it again in the final minutes as he somehow managed to keep out Omar Elabdellaoui’s effort in the third-minute of added time as the Norwegian defender raced through one on one against the Frenchman.
The looks of disbelief on the faces of the Olympiacos players at the finals whistle said it all as the Piraeus club now have a mountain to climb in the last four matches to win the title while hoping that AEK and PAOK slip up at the same time.