SLGR Matchday 26 Recap: Derby Win Brings AEK to Brink Of Title

SLGR Matchday 26 Recap: Derby Win Brings AEK to Brink Of Title
 

GREEK SUPERLEAGUE - MATCHDAY 26

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

AGONAsport’s George Tsitsonis brings you a full recap of matchday 26 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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AEK’s 3-0 win over rivals Panathinaikos in the Athens derby on Matchday 26 has Manolo Jimenez’s team well-placed to capture their first league title since 1994. That victory was the highlight in a weekend where the races for Europe and avoiding relegation became much tighter. 

Sergio Araujo’s double gave AEK a massive boost as they took care of Panathinaikos 3-0 in Sunday evening’s derby at the Olympic Stadium. Araujo opened the scoring in the 30th minute and five minutes later Panathinaikos were reduced to ten men when Emanuel Insua was sent off for a second bookable offense. Rodrigo Galo scored seven minutes after the interval to make it 2-0 while Araujo added an insurance goal just over 20 minutes from the end. 

PAOK recovered  from their recent off-the-pitch problems with a 2-0 away to Atromitos. Djalma Campos gave the visitors a 1-0 lead nine minutes before the break. Just after halftime, Jose Angel Crespo added another as PAOK reclaimed second place.

Olympiacos threw away any remaining title hopes they fostered with a massively disappointing 1-1 draw away to Levadiakos. Ibrahima Niasse opened the scoring for Levadiakos in just the fourth minute. Olympiacos found an equalizer through Karim Ansarifard four minutes after halftime, but could not find the all-important second as they had to settle for a point. 

Xanthi held out for a 0-0 draw away to Panionios in Sunday’s early kick-off. Xanthi will be happier than their counterparts as they remain two points of Panionios in the race for a European spot. 

Kerkyra dropped into the relegation zone after failing to defeat Lamia in a 0-0 draw at home. Apollon Smyrni’s 3-0 against Larisa meant that Apollo leapfrogged Kerkyra at the bottom. Apollon took the lead with an early strike from Emmanuel Kone and a second-half brace from Christos Albanis. 

In the Saturday match-up kicking off Matchday 26, Panetolikos got back to winning ways with a  1-0 victory over PAS Giannina. Marcos Paulo scored the only goal of the contest in the 14th minute, while PAS played for nearly a whole half due to the dismissal of Alexandros Apostolopoulos for a red card. 

On Monday, Asteras Tripolis powered past Platanias 4-0. Martin Tonso scored a brace as Asteras also picked up goals from Michalis Manias and Tasos Douvikas. The win puts the Tripoli club into a joint tie for fifth place with Xanthi for the final European berth for next season with just four matches to play. 

Matchday MVP - Sergio Araujo (AEK)

The Argentinian striker has been at it again this season, scoring important goals for AEK in the Super League and the Greek Cup. Sunday was no different as Araujo’s brace led the Kitrinomavri to a big derby win. Those goals gave a victory that sees AEK on the verge of a first league championship in nearly a quarter century.

Goal of the Matchday - Sergio Araujo (AEK)

Another brilliant strike by Araujo, reminiscent of his goal against Olympiacos in the Greek Cup earlier this year. Araujo took down a long ball off his chest, shrugged off the challenge of Emmanuel Insua and unleashed an unstoppable left-footed shot from long range that found its way into the net to give AEK a 1-0 lead over Panathinaikos in the 30th minute. 


Save of the Matchday - Vasilis Barkas (AEK)

The AEK goalkeeper had to be at his absolute best early on in the derby against Panathinaikos. Ousmane Coulibaly’s superb run ended  up in the AEK box where the midfielder smashed a vicious shot destined for the goal only for a diving Barkas to react quickly, pushing the ball out for a corner. 

Play of the Matchday - PAOK

A well-worked set-piece from PAOK to give them the lead over Atromitos in the 36th minute. Djalma Campos began standing by the ball 25 yards from goal and then began a run. Dimitris Pelkas played the free-kick into the feet of Vierinha. The Portuguese midfielder delightfully played in Campos who had continued his run. Campos then chipped over the onrushing Andreas Gianniotas to give his side the lead. One straight from the training ground from PAOK that worked to absolute perfection in a match. 

Team Performance of the Matchday - AEK

Panathinaikos are a shadow of their former selves, but AEK’s win on Sunday was nothing less than they deserve. The Prasini were dispatched by their opponents in a match where the result never appeared to be in doubt after Araujo’s first goal. The dismissal of Insua surely played a role, however AEK showed they had

Surprise of the Matchday - Apollon Smyrni

The embattled side who has been near the bottom of the league all season put together a solid performance in sweeping away Larisa 3-0. The victory has Apollon in the safe positions for the first time since the early part of the campaign. If they go on to stay up, one of the reasons will certainly be this weekend’s big victory. 

Disappointment of the Matchday - Olympiacos

Larisa deserve mention for a big defeat away to second from bottom Apollon Smyrni. For Olympiacos however, the draw away to Levadiakos was just another example of a season to forget for Oscar Garcia’s team. The dropped points effectively handed AEK the title and Olympiacos will certainly need to do some soul-searching in the summer. 
 

 
by George Tsitsonis
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