Late Giakoumakis strike seals stunning Athens derby win for AEK
GREEK SUPERLEAGUE - MATCHDAY 20
|Olympiacos||1 - 2||AEK|
Giorgos Giakoumakis came off the bench to score a dramatic late winner for AEK on Sunday as the Athens club came from behind to stun Olympiacos and claim a sensational 2-1 win at the Georgios Karaiskakis stadium.
All three goals came in the final 10 minutes of what had been an otherwise tense and uninspiring contest up to that point, littered with niggly fouls, defensive tactics and very little imagination in the final third of the pitch from both teams.
The match seemed to be heading for a 1-1 draw after substitute Karim Ansarifard’s close-range finish from a corner gave Olympiacos the lead in the 80th minute, and AEK levelled three minutes from full-time with Dmytro Chygrnskiy lashing the ball into the roof of the net.
But the 23-year-old Giakoumakis won it for AEK in the fourth-minute of added time by tapping home from close range after Rodrigo Galo’s right-wing cross. Olympiacos then had captain Alberto Botia sent off for over-zealous protests.
The win was just about the right result after a low-key match in which AEK had the lion’s share of the few scoring chances on offer on the night and showed great team spirit to finish so strongly after going behind.
The result means AEK leapfrog Olympiacos into second spot, and Manolo Jimenez’s team are just two points behind leaders PAOK, while Olympiacos are third and are further two points back.
Olympiacos may face disciplinary measures from the SuperLeague after hundreds of fan invaded the pitch after the final whistle and fought ugly battles with riot police, who used tear gas to disperse the crowds.
AEK can now celebrate a superb double over Olympiacos, whom they also beat 3-2 in September at the Olympic Stadium.
After a low-key first half, two of the best chances to score fell to AEK in the second half with Sergio Araujo wasting a great headed chance before Shojaei Masoud then saw his goal-bound header nodded off the line by Olympiacos centre-back Pape Cisse.
Although they controlled possession for long spells, Olympiacos offered little in the way of a goalscoring threat, with a first-half snapshot from Colombian striker Felipe Pardo beaten away by AEK goalkeeper Panagiotis Tsitotas the best on offer.
Overall, this top of the table derby encounter was certainly not the exciting spectacle that many supporters and media pundits were anticipating as both teams cancelled each other out and showed a lack of ambition in attack.
With just one point and one league place separating the two rivals before kick-off, this was a match both sets of players desperately wanted - and needed - to win in order to gain a psychological boost and stay within touching distance of leaders PAOK, who beat PAS Giannina 3-1 earlier in the day.
The first half failed to deliver on the pre-match hype with both teams setting up their stalls cautiously, although Olympiacos did try to commit players forward whenever they had sustained periods of possession.
The best chance of the first-half fell to Olympiacos’ Colombian striker Felipe Pardo, but his left-footed snapshot from just inside the penalty area in the 39th minute was beaten away by AEK goalkeeper Panagiotis Tsintotas.
Before that, Kevin Mirallas had flashed a shot wide while AEK’s Lazaros Christodoulopoulos wasted a free-kick opportunity from a dangerous position, crashing his kick into the defensive wall.
The rest of the half was a tense affair characterized by a flurry of fouls and niggly tackles with neither side having any bright ideas going forward.
The start of the second half was delayed as Olympiacos fans in the Gate 7 area burned several AEK flags, causing a small fire which took 10 minutes for the fire services to extinguish.
The pattern of the game remained more or less the same in the second half, but as the match wore on AEK grew in confidence and began to come out of their shell with the hosts seemingly lacking attacking impetus.
And the Kitrinomavri should have went ahead in the 58th minute when Sergio Araujo passed up the best chance of the match at that point, heading straight at Silvio Proto in the Olympiacos goal after rising unmarked to meet a superb Michalis Bakakis cross.
Garcia introduced top scorer Karim Ansarifard on the hour mark and his presence seemed to inject a bit of spark into Olympiacos, with Leonardo Koutris surging down the left six minites later before sending over a cross which almost embarrassed Tsintotas by landing on the top of the crossbar.
AEK came even closer to scoring in the 69th minute when Christodoulopoulos’ free-kick was headed goalwards by Shojaei Masoud, only for Pape Cisse to save the day by heading the bal off the line.
Substitute Marko Marin came on to spark Olympiacos to life and he was denied a goal 10 minutes from time only by a superb save by Tsitotas.
But from the resulting corner the Karaiskakis erupted as Ansarifard blasted home his 13th goal of the season after some penalty-area pinball following the set-piece to make it 1-0 to the hosts.
That joy turned to eerie silence in the 87th minute when Chygrnskiy fired home for AEK following some penalty-box pinball after a corner.
And just when it seemed that was that, Galo picked out Giakoumakis, who had just came on to replace Tasos Bakasetas in the 85th minute, to score an astonishing winning goal which prompted wild celebrations on the AEK bench, who toasted a famous victory.