The Dust Clears From Top To Bottom
(Matchday 29 Recap)
A dramatic Sunday in the 2016/17 Greek SuperLeague saw Matchday 29 prove to be the defining day for the league’s races from the top of the table to the bottom.
Beginning at the top, Olympiacos strolled to their 7th consecutive league championship with a 5-0 dismantling of PAS Giannina.
The playoff puzzle was also finally put together. PAOK’s 3-1 win over Platanias clinched 2nd place in the league for the club no matter what happens on the final Matchday. Panathinaikos jumped to 3rd with their 1-0 victory over Atromitos. Panionios slipped to 5th after dropping a 1-0 decision away to Kerkyra.
AEK produced some of the biggest news of the day as they defeated Levadiakos 2-0. Not only did the Kitrinomavri clinch a playoff spot thanks to that win and other results, but the victory ensured that Levadiakos would be the second team to be assured of relegation.
Xanthi’s defeat at Larisa not only made certain that Larisa would stay up, but also doubled as confirming that Xanthi would miss out on the playoffs.
Iraklis’ players and supporters were on cloud nine after a 2-1 over Panetolikos which clinched top-flight safety for the Thessaloniki side. In the weekend’s remaning match, Veria, despite being relegated two weeks’ ago, managed to conjure up a solid display to defeat Asteras Tripolis 4-3.
|Date||Home Team||Score||Away Team|
|23-Apr-17||Larissa||1 - 0||Xanthi|
|23-Apr-17||Panathinaikos||1 - 0||Atromitos|
|23-Apr-17||Veria||4 - 3||Asteras Tripolis|
|23-Apr-17||Platanias||1 - 3||PAOK|
|23-Apr-17||Iraklis||2 - 1||Panetolikos|
|23-Apr-17||Kerkyra||1 - 0||Panionios|
|23-Apr-17||Olympiacos||5 - 0||PAS Giannina|
|23-Apr-17||Levadiakos||0 - 2||AEK|
Olympiacos picked up their 7th straight title in emphatic circumstances with a 5-0 thrashing of PAS Giannina. Despite a rocky campaign which has seen the club go through several coaching changes and a real drop in form in the second half of the campaign, Olympiacos once again are the league champions.
The Erythrolefki came out with one mission and that was to attack from the start. Before Marko Marin opened the scoring 21 minutes in, the home team had several chances with which to open the scoring.
Three minutes after Marin’s goal, Manuel Da Costa headed home a Kostas Fortounis corner to make it 2-0. Alberto De la Bella made it 3-0 just shy of the half hour and the party was certainly on at the Karaiskakis Stadium.
The second half was merely a continuation of the first and Olympiacos could have produced a massive score had they finished off their chances. De la Bella notched a rare brace for himself with he scored in the 71st to make it 4-0. Chori Dominguez rounded off the scoring with a penalty kick in the 81st minute to put the cherry on top for Takis Lemonis and company.
PAOK breezed through Chania as Vladan Ivic’s side recorded a 3-1 victory over Platanias. The win clinched 2nd place for PAOK and the result was never in doubt from the start. Amr Warda opened the scoring four minutes in and four minutes after that Djalma made it 2-0 as Platanias were pegged back early on.
Though Platanias began to get a foothold, PAOK were in complete command heading into the second half. Yevhen Shakhov picked up a Warda assist to make it 3-0 in the 63rd as PAOK coasted toward victory.
Platanias did manage to get on the board thanks to Kostas Mendrinos’ goal twelve minutes from the end, but that was the closest Giorgos Paraschos’ team would get as PAOK held on.
AEK sent Levadiakos down to the Greek Football League after a couple of late strikes gave the visitors a 2-0 victory in Levadia.
Iraklis did what was unthinkable a short while ago and achieved safety after a 2-1 win over Panetolikos. Savvas Pantelidis’ men summoned up another superb end-of-season performance to record a victory that was wildly celebrated at the end in Thessaloniki.
Iraklis came out on fire from the starting whistle and missed opportunities early on through Leozinho and Emanuel Perrone. The visiting side began to grip with the match and just after the half hour stunned the Kaftantzoglio as Farley Rosa gave them a 1-0 advantage.
Pantelidis brought on Michalis Bastakos after the break and it was a stroke of genius from the Iraklis boss. Bastakos provided the assist for Perrone to equalize on 65 minutes. Then late on, Bastakos made himself a club hero as he scored five minutes from time to lead his side to the crucial victory.
Despite the chaotic off-the-pitch issues the club have faced this season, Iraklis have done extremely well to stay up and the players and coaching staff deserve tremendous credit.
Larisa did their duty by defeating Xanthi 1-0 at the AEL FC Arena and clinching their survival in the process. It was a match lacking in quality in Larisa, but the home side produced the one moment of quality needed to score and make the difference.
That moment came in the 24th minute when Nikos Anastasopoulos met Adnan Aganovic’s inch-perfect cross to make it 1-0. Larisa had chances to increase their advantage, but missed opportunities either side of the break.
Xanthi were full of effort and endeavor, but Razvan Lucescu’s team struggled in the final third to carve out meaningful openings. The defeat sees the side from Northern Greece drop out of the playoff race as the best they can now finish is 6th.
Larisa go to 28 points with the victory and a win on the last day of the season could see them rise as high as 11th.
They left it late, however Marinos Ouzounidis’ Panathinaikos overcame Atromitos’ resistance to win 1-0 at Leoforos on Sunday. The victory locked up a playoff spot for Panathinaikos, who will finish as high as 3rd and low as 4th after Matchday 30 next weekend.
Atromitos shaded the first half in terms of chances created. Ricardo Sa Pinto’s players were solid from back to front. And it showed as the only thing Panathinaikos had to show for themselves in the first was a couple of shots from Marcus Berg.
Ouzounidis’ halftime talk must have worked as the Prasini were simply a different side in the second 45 minutes. The home team created several chances as Viktor Klonaridis, Berg, and Dimtris Kourbelis all missed good opportunities.
Panathinaikos’ best chance came in the 80th minute when Tasos Chatzigiovannis saw his rocket come back off the post. There was still time for a winner though and that came in the 86th minute. Substitute Guillermo Molins picked up a pass from Berg and though his initial shot was saved, he tucked in the rebound to score the vital goal that gave Panathinaikos the three points
Panionios continued their end-of-season struggles with a 1-0 defeat at Kerkyra. The home side seemed the hungrier of the two teams all game and deservedly picked up the three points. This was a physical affair that including 12 yellow cards and one red, that to Branislav Nikic of Kerkyra in injury-time.
Panionios were poor throughout and a real shadow of the team that has impressed so many observers this season. Denis Epstein’s fine individual effort was the difference 26 minutes into this match. That goal was Kerkyra’s first in 410 minutes of action.
In the second half, the Faiakes should have added to their lead with a series of big chances. Panionios were nowhere to be found and this match will have sent some warning signs to manager Vladan Milojevic ahead of the playoffs.
Kerkyra move to 10th with the victory, while Panionios fall to 5th, however they will be in the playoff regardless of what happens on the final day of the season.
A Michalis Manias hat-trick was not enough for Asteras Tripolis as they went down 4-3 at Veria.
Already relegated in the last round, Veria did manager to produce a comeback win that at least offered some consolation to suffering fans.
Manias shocked the home side with two goals inside the first 10 minutes. The striker netting in the 4th and 8th minutes to give Asteras the early advantage. Veria however hit back instantly. By the time a quarter of an hour had been played they were level at 2-2 as Panagiotis Linardos and Pantelis Kapetanos scored in quick succesion.
Linardos then turned the match on its head by securing his brace in the 21st minute making it 3-2 in an explosive start to the match. Jeffrey Sarpong then stepped up to provide what would turn out to be the game-winner with his goal on 37 minutes.
Asteras tried to claw back in the second half and made it 4-3 with Manias securing his hat-trick in the 55th. Despite increased pressure from Asteras in the final stages, Veria held on for the win. Despite the defeat, Staikos Vergetis’ men managed to clinch safety thanks to Levadiakos’ defeat to AEK.