Olympiacos Take Big Step Towards Title (Matchday 17 Recap)



Olympiacos took a decisive step toward another league title this weekend and some main rivals left points on the table.

Olympiacos returned back amongst the wins as they defeated Xanthi 2-0 in a battle of the league’s top two teams.
Panionios showed their ability to bounce back as they easily took care of Panetolikos 2-0 on Saturday.

Panathinaikos were held by Kerkyra to a 1-1 draw as they went down to 4th.

An improved AEK surpassed Asteras Tripolis 2-0 in Manolo Jimenez's first match as manager.

In a big relegation zone fight, Veria will be the much happier of the two teams as they earned a 1-1 against Iraklis in Thessaloniki.

Elsewhere, Larisa and Platanias battled to a scoreless draw. Levadiakos and Atromitos also could not be separated in a 1-1 tie. 

In the Monday night match, PAOK used a first half goal to pace them past PAS Giannina. 

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


Olympiacos 2 - 0 Xanthi
Seba 48'
Manthatis 90'+2'

A strong second half showing saw Olympiacos come away with a 2-0 win against Xanthi. As has been the case in recent matches, Paulo Bento’s team made a slow start. In fact, Xanthi were partially responsible for this with a strong performance in the first 45 minutes, despite the absence of several key players.

Olympiacos’ best chance in the first half came through Marko Marin in the 28th minute, but his effort was well saved by Zivko Zivkovic. Xanthi missed a golden opportunity to open scoring a few minutes later when Theodoros Vasilakakis pulled his one-on-one shot wide after being put through by Antonis Ranos.

Olympiacos began the second half with more purpose and took the lead just three minutes in. Seba’s good run leading to his shot being deflected into the net by Stavros Svarnos after Zivkovic got a piece of the ball. Xanthi wouldn’t go away and in the 65th minute had a glorious chance to equalize, but Aristotle Karasalidis’ volley was turned away by Stefanos Kapinos.

A minute into injury time, Olympiacos finally made sure of the win. Oscar Cardozo tried on consecutive shots to score from close range, he was denied, but 20-year-old Giorgos Manthatis was on hand to finish past Zivkovic and make it 2-0.

Olympiacos remain in 1st on 42 points while Xanthi drop to 3rd with 31 points.

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


AEK 2 - 0 Asteras Tripolis
Pekhart 24'
Mantalos 47'

AEK had no trouble overcoming Asteras Tripolis in Manolo Jimenez's return to the club. The 2-0 victory was quite comfortable against an Asteras team who disappointed after a very strong month. 

Jimenez's appointment seemed to spark instant life into a struggling AEK team. Asteras had no answer to AEK's pressing game. The Kitrinomavri opened the scoring in the 24th minute when Czech striker Tomas Pekhart headed in a cross. 

AEK searched for more goals in a dominant first half performance. Lazaros Christodoulopoulos came closest as his 38th minute shot was cleared off the line.

The second half was more of the same. AEK scored their second just after the break. Petros Mantalos found space just outside the area and  his well-hit drive blew past Antonio Donnarumma to make it 2-0.

Asteras managed only one shot on target in the second half (their only one of the match). Instead AEK continued to create, missing several opportunities to add to their advantage. 

Certainly AEK supporters will be hoping that their side continue in the vein of this performance.

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


Kerkyra 1 - 1 Panathinaikos
Epstein 29' Berg 21'

It was more dropped points for Panathinaikos as they were held to a draw in Kerkyra. 

The 1-1 tie is probably the right result even if the Prasini were the marginally better side on the night. 

Marinos Ouzounidis' side took the lead on 22 minutes. Lucas Villafanez played a brilliant ball through for Marcus Berg and the Swede produced a superb lob over the goalkeeper to open the scoring. 

The away side's joy didn't last long however as Kerkyra found the equalizer within seven minutes. Denis Epstein brought down a cross, slipped past one defender, evaded a second defender and finished home. The brilliant solo effort making it 1-1.

The visitors had the better chances in the second half. Villafanez and Berg missed big opportunities. Berg in particular came close to scoring his second in the 69th, but another attempted shot over the keeper was cleared off the line by Tasos Venetis. 

The closing stages saw effort made for the winning goal,but both sides not having the fresh legs and creativity to fashion another goal. 

With the draw, Panathinaikos are 4th in the standings with 30 points. Kerkyra have slowly eased away from relegation, Michalis Grigoriou's team now in 12th on 17 points.

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


Panionios 2 - 0 Panetolikos
Risvanis 25'
Katharios 54'

Panetolikos did little to trouble Panionios as the hosts triumphed in Nea Smyrni 2-0. Vladan Milojevic’s Panionios showed no ill effects from last week’s defeat at PAS Giannina as they controlled this match from start to finish.

The only thing Panetolikos did was start well in the first 10 minutes. After that, Panionios were on top and opened the scoring through a great strike by Spyros Risvanis in the 25th minute. After the break, the home team doubled their advantage with the first chance after halftime. Nikos Katharios scored with a shot from distance after a clearance landed at his feet.

Panionios could have and should have added to their lead as they had several chances in the last half hour of the match. Manolis Siopis squandered the best two opportunities in the 66th and 71st minutes, but it didn’t matter in the end. Panionios go up to 31 points, while Panetolikos stay in 10th on 19 points.

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


Iraklis 1 - 1 Veria
Stamou 51' Linardos 59'

Iraklis missed a massive opportunity as they could only draw 1-1 with Veria on Saturday. The Thessaloniki side could have taken a big step toward climbing out of last place with the win and also keep within striking distance against fellow relegation strugglers. However, Veria maintain their five-point lead over Iraklis with the draw.

It was even opening half to begin this match, with the first 20 minutes making exceptional viewing as both teams played their part in a wide open game. The tempo fell after that and the half came to a close with the 0-0 scoreline intact.

Iraklis made the breakthrough just after the break. Dimitris Stamou on hand to head in a loose ball as the hosts took a 1-0 advantage. Veria seemed to improve immediately. They upped the pressure and equalized soon after. Panagiotis Linardos grabbing the equalizer when he picked up a loose ball in the area to score past Huanderson.

The moment of the match came in the 71st minute when Jeffrey Sarpong’s fantastic run and ensuing shot was superbly turned away for a corner by Huanderson. That was the last real major chance and the 1-1 score remained until the end.

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


Levadiakos 1 - 1 Atromitos
Youssouf 73' Le Tallec 10'

A late strike earned Levadiakos a 1-1 draw against Atromitos breaking a seven match losing skid. 

While Levadiakos were unable to win the game, there will be some relief that the team battled back to earn the point

Atromitos scored with their first chance of the game. Anthony Le Tallec producing a strong header to give the away team a 1-0 lead in the 10th minute.

Both teams seems effected by many starters being absent from this match, Levadiakos in particular had 9 players missing for various reasons. 

But the Livadeia club were not to be outdone as they improved after the break. After some missed half-chances the equalizer came in the 73rd minute. Mohammed Youssouf tucking home from close range at the back post. It was Levadiakos' first goal in 452 minutes of play. 

Both teams searched for a winning goal,but to no avail. Levadiakos remain in the drop zone, while Atromitos stay in a tie for 8th.

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


Larissa 0 - 0 Platanias

It was far from a bore draw, but despite great scoring chances Larisa and Platanias played out a 0-0 tie. The match at the AEL FC Arena was characterized by three shots that hit the woodwork. 

The opening stages of the game were quite poor as both sides made many mistakes. As they settled the chances began to come. Vasilis Rentzas hit the bar as Larisa came close in the 30th minute. 

Platanias was quick to respond as Vitaliy Pryndeta saw his close range effort come back of the the crossbar in the 38th minute.

Both sides traded chances in the second half as they chased the elusive winner. It was Platanias who missed the chance to win it late on when Pryndeta again had hit shot smack off the post. 

Larisa are just above the relegation zone in 13th place while Platanias go up to 22 points in 8th position.

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


PAS Giannina 0 - 1 PAOK
Leovac 31'

PAOK moved into the playoff spots by defeating PAS Giannina at the Zosimades Stadium. The only goal of the match came in the first half through Leovac.

PAOK controlled first half proceedings at the Zosimades Stadium. Even so, PAS had the game's first chance. Twenty minutes in, Noe Acosta was well placed in the box to score, but his header was too weak to trouble Panagiotis Glykos. 

A half hour into the match, the visiting team took the lead. Stefanos Athanasiadis produced a diving header that brought an excellent save out of Giannina goalkeeper Alexandros Paschalakis, but off the rebound, Marin Leovac was in the perfect place to follow and give PAOK the 0-1 advantage. 

In the second half, the same script followed. PAOK had the possession and the chances, but could not convert those into more goals. Giannis Petrakis' PAS Giannia side made the effort, but couldn't manage more than a few half chances. Fatigue for both teams was apparent toward the end and the result remained. 

PAOK move to 26 points with the victory as they take over 5th place. Giannina fall to 6th with the loss (25 points) as they go out of the playoff places for the time being.

*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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