Subs help Olympiacos see off Kerkyra
GREEK SUPERLEAGUE - MATCHDAY 12
|Kerkyra||1 - 3||Olympiacos|
Olympiacos took over at the top of the SuperLeague after Takis Lemonis’ team fought back from a goal behind to defeat a battling Kerkyra side 3-1 in Sunday’s late matchday 12 clash.
A shock looked to be on the cards when Alekos Vosniadis’ team made a dream start by opening the scoring after 16 minutes through defender Christos Gromitsaris, and the hosts looked comfortable going into half-time.
But Olympiacos awoke from their slumbers after the break, with defender Pape Abou Cissé pulling the visitors level and substitutes Uros Djurdjevic and Marko Marin adding further goals to complete the anticipated turnaround.
The result means Olympiacos move one point clear of PAOK at the summit, having collected 23 points from 12 matches. AEK, who are fourth on 21 points, can go top if they beat bottom club Platanias at the Olympic Stadium on Monday.
Takis Lemonis’ Olympiacos, who have improved in recent weeks since their worst start to a season in 30 years left them off the pace at the top, went into this match looking for a win to claim top spot, but it was the home side who looked more impressive from the kick-off.
Kerkyra showed an attack-minded stance from the first whistle and were rewarded with a goal in the 16th minute when former Olympiacos midfielder Denis Epstein sent over a free-kick.
Defender Giannis Ioannou nodded the ball to Gromitsaris, who prodded home to spark wild celebrations among the home players and fans, with the Olympiacos players looking suitably shell-shocked.
Olympiacos regrouped, though, and responded in the 26th minute when Kostas Fortounis was only denied by a last-ditch goalline clearance by home defender Spyros Spinoulas.
That didn’t hinder Kerkyra from playing their attacking game, and the Phaeacians were unlucky not to go 2-0 up in the 37th minute when the impressive winger Fotis Georgiou pulled the ball back for Antonis Anastasiou.
Anastasiou’s poor-hit shot ended up being the perfect assist for Giorgos Pamlidis, who was only denied by an excellent save from Olympiacos goalkeeper Silvio Proto.
Lemonis made two changes at half-time bringing on Marko Marin and Uroš Đurđević for Panagiotis Tachtsidis and Felipe Pardo, and Mairn made an instant impact to help get Olympiacos back on level terms just a minute into the second half.
The German midfielder picked out Alberto Botia with a precise cross, and when the Spanish defender’s header came back off the post, fellow defender Pape Abou Cissé was on hand to score from close range and make it 1-1.
Olympiacos’ Togo midfielder Alaixys Romao almost made it 2-0 in the 58th minute when he hit the woodwork after playing a neat one-two with Iran striker Karim Ansarifard, but a second goal was not long in coming for the champions, who simply moved up a gear.
And it came in the 65th minute, just moments after the lively Marin had drawn a super save from Kerkyra goalkeeper Nikos Giannakopoulos with a header, when Đurđević volleyed in a superb strike from Cissé’s long ball.
Olympiacos kept pouring forward against a clearly tiring Kerkyra outfit, and the third goal came three minutes later in spectacular fashion, with Marin curling in a great long-range strike.
Kerkyra responded immediately and went down the other end but Proto made a superb save when faced one-on-one with French midfielder Kevin Diogo to keep the score at 3-1.