SLGR Matchday 18 Recap: Olympiacos And PAOK Win Again; AEK And Atromitos Slip-Up

SLGR Matchday 18 Recap: Olympiacos And PAOK Win Again; AEK And Atromitos Slip-Up
 

GREEK SUPERLEAGUE - MATCHDAY 18

Date Home Team Score Away Team
20-Jan-18 Platanias 1 - 0 Levadiakos
20-Jan-18 Panathinaikos 4 - 0 Kerkyra
20-Jan-18 Larissa 0 - 0 AEK
21-Jan-18 PAOK 3 - 0 Apollon Smyrnis
21-Jan-18 PAS Giannina 2 - 2 Atromitos
21-Jan-18 Panetolikos 1 - 1 Panionios
21-Jan-18 Olympiacos 3 - 0 Xanthi
21-Jan-18 Lamia 1 - 0 Asteras Tripolis

AGONAsport’s George Tsitsonis brings you a full recap of matchday 18 action in the Greek SuperLeague. For all the latest fixtures and result visit here. For the the up to date Supereague standings visit here

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Olympiacos and PAOK pulled away from AEK and Atromitos after completion of Matchday 18 action of the Greek Super League. Wins for Olympiacos and PAOK kept their recent winning streaks intact, while AEK found problems in Larisa and Atromitos needed a late goal to salvage a point away to PAS Giannina. 

Olympiacos kept their one point lead atop the standings with their ninth consecutive victory as they brushed off the challenge of Xanthi 3-0. The Erythrolefki powered past the visiting side as the Karaiskakis Stadium thanks to a Karim Ansarifard double (26’ PK, 57’) and another goal from Kostas Fortounis (69’).

PAOK remained hot on the heels of their rivals with an easy 3-0 win at home over Apollon Smirnis. Robert Mak opened the scoring in the 27th minute before an own goal by Emmanuel Kone made it 2-0 in first half stoppage time. Aleksandar Prijovic added a third in the dying moments as Razvan Lucescu’s men continued their fantastic form. The win was PAOK’s sixth in a row as they continue to put pressure on leaders Olympiacos. 

AEK dropped points away to Larisa in a goalless draw between the two sides on Sunday at the AEL FC Arena. Manolo Jimenez’s team ran into a stubborn Larisa side who made it difficult for their opponents all night long. The Kitrinomavri had some chances, but ultimately they fell to three points behind Olympiacos as they could not find a breakthrough.

Atromitos continued their recent dip in form with a 2-2 away draw to PAS Giannina. It could have been worse however, in a match that sparked to life with 20 minutes remaining. 0-0 up to that point, it was visiting side Atromitos who took the lead with a Abiola Dauda penalty-kick in the 71st minute. A remarkable turnaround in the 87th minute saw the hosts score twice as PAS stormed back to a 2-1 lead thanks to goals from Pedro Conde (87’) and Franck Betra (89’). But, in the matchday’s best game, Atromitos responded in injury-time as Aristotle Karasalidis converted from short range to make it 2-2. 

Elsewhere, Panathinaikos got back to winning ways, while there were shocks in Lamia and Chania. 

Panathinaikos made easy work of visiting Kerkyra en route to a 4-0 victory. The Prasini used first half strikes from Christos Donis (16’) and Mattias Johansson (33’) to race out to a 2-0 lead at the break. After halftime it was more of the same with two additional goals coming from Robin Lod (70’) and Omri Altman (90’).

Lamia put an end to Asteras Tripolis’ recent surge up the table with a 1-0 victory. In a tight match, the only thing separating the two teams being Alexandros Karagiannis’ goal on 72 minutes. 

Platanias tasted the sweet taste of victory after 12 consecutive losses as they downed Levadiakos at home 1-0. The home crowd erupted when Joan Francisco turned the ball into his own net just 18 minutes from the final whistle. 

Finally, Panetolikos and Panionios played out a 1-1 draw in Agrinio. The home team seized the advantage after 25 minutes with Vlad Morar’s 5th goal of the season. However, a superb team goal gave Panionios an equalizer in the 81st minute as Lazaros Lamprou finished off a fine attacking move. 

Matchday MVP - Christos Donis (Panathinaikos)

Donis made a massive impact this weekend as a striker for Panathinaikos. Injuries had robbed Marinos Ouzounidis of all his fit forwards and Donis, a midfielder, was switched over for cover. The 23-year-old Greek youth international performed extremely well. Not only did he score his side’s first goal en route to a 4-0 win, Donis was ever-present in all of Panathinaikos’ best moves, wreaking havoc on the Kerkyra backline throughout. 

Goal of the Matchday - Lazaros Lambrou (Panionios)

A wonderful finish from substitute Lambrou capped off a sweeping seven-pass move by Panionios to allow the Nea Smyrni side to earn a point against Panetolikos. Lambrou produced a deft chip to shoot past Dimitris Kyriakidis after a perfect through ball from Manolis Siopis. 

Save of the Matchday - Zivko Zivkovic (Xanthi)

A truly stunning save by the Serb as he dove low to his right with tremendous reflexes to keep a short-range effort from Karim Ansarifard.

Play of the Matchday - Olympiacos vs. Xanthi 43rd Minute

A terrific sequence that Olympiacos win the ball in midfield before some slick passing saw the ball land at the feet of Panagiotis Tachtsidis who played an impressive ball into the path of Kevin Mirallas. The Belgian dribbled into the box and saw his powerful hit saved by Zivkovic. The ball landed outside the box to Kostas Fortounis who unleashed another vicious drive only to see Zivkovic come to the rescue again as he batted the ball away. Both teams combined to give us something special to see in the course of a Super League match.

Team Performance of the Matchday - Olympiacos

Still far from perfect, Olympiacos are  on an upward climb after their ninth straight victory. It was another strong display by Oscar Garcia’s team as they really gave Xanthi all they handle and then some. If not for some solid goalkeeping by Zivkovic, the scoreline could have been harsher on Xanthi. 

Surprise of the Matchday - Lamia

Big win for the newly-promoted side. This has been a team that has endured a bit of a rollercoaster this season. The victory over Asteras however shows the potential this side has and why many have tabbed them to remain in the top-flight. Lamia went toe-to-toe against one of the league’s in-form sides and came away with a fine 1-0 win. 

Disappointment of the Matchday - AEK

Certainly, Larisa were a difficult side to break down this weekend. However, AEK need to be careful of dropping more points in matches like these. With the Greek Cup, Greek League, and Europa League all to come in the next month, it remains to be seen how this team will fare on multiple fronts and if they will continue on being legitimate title contenders. 
 

 
by George Tsitsonis
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