Panathinaikos Triumph in Athenian Derby (Matchday 26 Recap)

Panathinaikos Triumph in Athenian Derby
(MATCHDAY 26 RECAP)
 

Panathinaikos won a pulsating Athens derby overcoming AEK 3-2 thanks to Marcus Berg’s last-minute winner. Matchday 26 threw out a series of important results that had bearing on all the races going on in the league.

Olympiacos got back to winning ways as they defeated Platanias 2-1, keeping their six-point lead at the top over Panionios who were also victorious 2-1 over Atromitos. 

In the battle against the drop, Veria was plunged into deep trouble as they lost 3-1 to Levadiakos, who did themselves a world of good with those three points. Iraklis kept within three points of Levadiakos and safety by winning only their third match of the season, a 3-0 win over Kerkyra away from home. Asteras Tripolis fought back to claim a point (1-1) in a very physical match away to Panetolikos. 

PAOK remained in 3rd with a 2-0 victory over Larisa and finally PAS Giannina rescued a point at the death  in their home match against Xanthi.
 

*For the current SuperLeague standings click here or visit the Greek SuperLeague home page for more.

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AEK - PANATHINAIKOS

AEK 2 - 3 Panathinaikos
Christodoulopoulos (p) 62'
Pekhart 77'
Klonaridis 24'
Berg 27', 90'

Panathinaikos dealt Manolo Jimenez his first loss in his return to AEK with a 3-2 derby win at the Olympic Stadium. Sunday night’s match was an entertaining affair with a winning goal tallied in the last minute.

On the night, Panathinaikos probably deserved their victory, but were made to sweat after an AEK comeback. Marinos Ouzounidis’ team were clearly the better side in the first half. After missing some early chances, Panathinaikos were 1-0 up in the 24th after Viktor Klonaridis knocked home a shot after it had rebounded off the post. 

It was 2-0 just three minutes later. Marcus Berg, the recipient of great work by Paul-Jose M’Poku, finishing a nice move by the DR Congo midfielder. 

Jimenez changed personnel and formation at the start of the second half and his changes proved to be a stroke a genius as AEK stormed back to draw level. First, substitute Lazaros Christodoulopoulos, converted a spot-kick in the 62th minute after Lucas Villafanez had handballed in his own box. 

A fantastic counter-attack saw AEK make it 2-2 in the 77th minute. Christodoulopoulos with a beautiful cutback for Tomas Pekhart, another substitute, to finish off. AEK were in the ascendancy now and the odds-on to go and win this match, such was their momentum and home advantage. That was not in the script though and Berg secured his brace and an unlikely winner in injury time. 
The Swedish striker assisted by Robin Lod to make it 3-2 late on sparking jubilant scenes amongst the Panathinaikos players. 

Jimenez made good changes, but they could not produce the win. The defeats keeps AEK in 5th places, two points clear for the last playoff spot. Panathinaikos certainly appear as though they will finish at least in the top four, potentially higher.

*More on this match, including highlights, can be found here...


OLYMPIACOS - PLATANIAS

Olympiacos 2 - 1 Platanias
Marin 54'
Romao 63'
Manousos (p) 45'

Another stab first half effort didn't stop Olympiacos from putting together a 2-1 comeback over Platanias on Saturday night.

The win kept the league leaders six points ahead of Panionios and on course for their seventh straight league title. Platanias may have lost, but with AEK losing and Xanthi tying, Giorgos Paraschos’ side is still only two points adrift of 5th.

Takis Lemonis could not have liked what he saw from his team in the first 45 minutes. Back for a third stint with the club, Lemonis saw his new team produce yet another uninspired and lethargic half of football. Platanias were anything but and after threatening on occasions took the lead on the stroke of halftime. A Diogo Figueiras handball led to a penalty kick which was struck home by Giorgos Manousos as the visiting side took the lead.

Whether Lemonis produced a superb halftime team talk or the players took it upon themselves, Olympiacos came out on fire in the first 20 minutes of the spec D half.

Forgotten man Marko Marin made it 1-1 in the 54th minute after a one-two with Kostas Fortounis. Platanias were being swept away at this point and conceded again in the 63rd minute. This time it was Alaixys Romao putting away an easy finish after Andres Martins’ through ball found Figueiras who laid a perfect ball into the path of the defensive midfielder.

Platanias bounced back though and after that goal conjured up three fine chances for a tying goal. Olympiacos then responded with a massive chance of their own as Karim Ansarifard hit the pots in the 70th minute. Marin and Oscar Cardozo were both guilty of missing good opportunities as the match winded down as Olympiacos eventually held on for the victory. 

*More on this match, including highlights, can be found here...


PANIONIOS - ATROMITOS

Panionios 2 - 1 Atromitos
Masouras 26'
Ben 52'
Diguiny 66'

Panionios kept up the assault in their unlikely title challenge with a 2-1 victory over Atromitos. The win keeps Panionios six points off the top, but their fantastic run during this Greek SuperLeague continues.

Both teams started slow as seemed to be the case with most matches after this international break. After the 20th minute, Panionios really began to create dangerous opportunities with Samed Yesil smashing a shot off the post in the 20th minute. Six minutes later, Yesil missed another great opportunity in a one-on-one situation. Panionios were ahead however just after that miss. Giorgos Masouras opening up the scoring as Panionios gained full control.

Seven minutes into the second half and Masoud Shojaei’s exquisite ball found Ben who buried his effort to make it 2-0. Atromitos were nowhere to be found, but like that they were level through Nicolas Diguiny on 66 minutes.

That goal provoked a good responded from Atromitos. It was nail-biting stuff in the closing minutes as both teams managed to produce chances for another goal. Panionios found the resolve they have had all season to hold on for the winner. 

The victory for  Vladan Milojevic and his team keep them in 2nd place on 51 points. Atromitos meanwhile drop to 9th place on 35 points.

*More on this match, including highlights, can be found here...


PAOK - LARISSA

PAOK 2 - 0 Larissa
Canas 37'
Kitsiou 87'

PAOK came up with a routine 2-0 victory over Larisa on Sunday at Toumba Stadium. It wasn’t the best performance of the season for Vladan Ivic and company and supporters vocalized their frustrations in the second half. Ultimately, the three points were picked up as PAOK stayed in 3rd. 

Andre Paus was in his debut on the bench for Larisa and oversaw a team with decent defensive organization for most of the first half as PAOK were left frustrated. The breakthrough finall came in the 37th minute though and it was from the most unlikeliest of sources. Jose Canas scored his first-ever career goal with an awesome 25-yard blast. Leo Matos hit the post at the end of the half as PAOK were on top.

Supporters grew wary in the second half however as PAOK never built on the tail end of the first half. The impetus to go forward had seemingly gone and Larisa became stronger coming closest to an equalizer from Milos Deletic. 

Eventually the boo-boys were silenced in the 87th minute as PAOK  secured the win. Stelios Kitsios coming on as a substitute to score and make it 2-0.

Larisa still look safe despite the defeat, as they are five points ahead of Iraklis.

*More on this match, including highlights, can be found here...


PAS GIANNINA - XANTHI

PAS Giannina 1 - 1 Xanthi
Jairo 90'+1' Vasilakakis 60'

A stoppage-time equalizer from Jairo gave PAS Giannina a share of the spoils against Xanthi. In the game that opened up Matchday 26, PAS dented Xanthi’s playoff hopes with the late strike just when it looked like Razvan Lucescu’s team were about to celebrate a big away win. 

It would have been difficult to see the drama that was going to unfold in this match after watching the first 45 minutes which had little in the way of chances or entertainment. The main events certainly occurred in the second period and began when Theodoros Vasilakakis gave the visitors the lead on the hour after pouncing on a mistake by the Giannina backline. 

Giannis Petrakis’ side however responded brilliantly and were camped out just outside the Xanthi box for the remainder of the match. PAS were doing well to create chances, but lacked the finishing touch to score. Just when a defeat looked on the cards, the impressive Jairo struck. The Brazilian popped up in the 92nd minute to receive a pass a few yards out from goal and tuck away the equalizer.

The result won’t do anything for PAS Giannina’s playoff hopes as they remain six points off of 5th place, but it was a blow to Xanthi’s shot at the playoffs. While they gain a point on AEK, Xanthi are still two points behind the Kitrinomavri with four games left to play.

*More on this match, including highlights, can be found here...


LEVADIAKOS - VERIA

Levadiakos 3 - 1 Veria
Milhazes 51' (p)
Vasiliou 77'
Giakoumakis 90'2'
Kapetanos 71'


Levadiakos may have delivered a knockout blow to Veria’s chances of playing in the top-flight next season after a 3-1 home win this weekend. This relegation battle sprang to life after a sleepy first half.

Levadiakos struck first on the hour with a converted penalty from Carlos Milhazes. Veria did ever so well to fight back however and were level just 11 minutes later through Pantelis Kapetanos. 

The visitors’ joy was short-lived however as Levadiakos went back in front just minutes later thanks to a Stelios Vasiliou strike.

Veria tried pushing forward for another tying goal, but had trouble in creating clear-cut chances. Levadiakos delivered the final blow in injury time as Petros Giakoumakis put the finishing touches on a fine move that involved Mohamed Youssouf and Loosemy Karaboue. 

Veria are plunged into the relegation abyss with this defeat. Though mathematically they are still alive, the reality is that six points from safety with only four matches to play seems like a very difficult situation to turn around. Levadiakos meanwhile are now three points above the drop zone.

*More on this match, including highlights, can be found here...


KERKYRA - IRAKLIS

Kerkyra 0 - 3 Iraklis
Leozinho 35'
Donis 40'
Kouros 76'

Iraklis notched a vital away victory to spark hope in their bid to avoid relegation. Savvas Pantelidis’ side triumphed 3-0 away to Kerkyra to pull within three points of Levadiakos and safety.

It was another stunning defeat for Kerkyra who were coming off a 4-0 loss to Veria last time out. There wasn’t much evidence of this type of defeat for the first 35 minutes of this encounter. Iraklis hadn’t produced much at all and Kerkyra looked comfortable for the most part. 

Then in a five-minute span toward the end of the half, defensive miscues from Kerkyra gifted Iraklis a two-goal advantage. Leozinho opening the scoring in the 35th and Christos Donis doubling the Iraklis advantage in the 40th.

Kerkyra came out in the second half looking more composed and assured in possession. They were still unable to find a rhythm in attack and could not find a breakthrough. Fourteen minutes from time the result was put beyond doubt as Alexandros Kouros scored the away side’s  third. 

Kerkyra remain in 10th with the loss (29 points), while Iraklis also remain in 15th place, but with some momentum now to take into the final four matches of the season. 

*More on this match, including highlights, can be found here...


PANETOLIKOS - ASTERAS TRIPOLIS

Panetolikos 1 - 1 Asteras Tripolis
Rey 4' Mazza 69'

Two free-kicks led to two goals and a single point each between Panetolikos and Asteras Tripolis. The 1-1 draw was an absorbing match that easily could have had more goals and even a winner. Asteras were probably the better side overall, but could not take all the points.

Alvaro Rey scored for Panetolikos inside four minutes from a free-kick to make it 1-0. The same player spurned a great chance to make it 2-0 in the 68th minute and his side paid the price a minute later. This time it was Pablo Mazza who was finally able to beat the in-form Dimitris Kyriakidis as his free-kick flew in to make it 1-1.

Both sides pushed hard for the winning goal and Asteras came closest when Tasos Papazoglou missed his opportunity very late on. The point does not quite take Asteras out of the relegation conversation, but it does give them some belief heading the final stretch that they will remain a SuperLeague club.

*More on this match, including highlights, can be found here...

 
by: Giorgos Tsitsonis. Contact the writer at tsitsonisg.agonasport@gmail.com
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