Olympiacos Increase Lead At Top (Matchday 18 Recap)

Olympiacos Increase Lead At Top


Olympiacos was the big winner once again as the smoke cleared from Matchday 18 action of the 2016/17 Greek SuperLeague. The Erythrolefki were not at their fluid best, but they did enough to defeat Veria 2-1 away.

The big story was the inability of the next three teams in the standings to come away with victories. Thus, Paulo Bento’s team stretched their lead at the top to 13 points.

Panionios and Xanthi, both remained in second place despite draws on Saturday. Panionios cannot be too disappointed earning a 1-1 draw in a tough away fixture against Asteras Tripolis. Xanthi seemed content as well in picking up a point at home in a 0-0 draw against AEK.

Panathinaikos were left frustrated for another match as lowly Levadiakos snagged a draw at the Leoforos Stadium. PAOK’s surge up the table continued with a 1-0 win over Panetolikos winning their 10th game out of 11 outings. 

Atromitos and PAS Giannina played out a hard-fought 1-1 draw. Platanias came from behind to beat Kerkyra 2-1, while Iraklis and Larisa could not be separated on Saturday in their draw that finished 1-1. 

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


Veria 1 - 2 Olympiacos
Sarpong 24'

Fortounis 11'
Milivojevic 35'

It was not a great night for the defending champions, but Olympiacos secured a 2-1 victory away to Veria on Sunday. Paulo Bento’s team did just enough to pick up another win and their march to the title now appears to be a mere formality. The win brings the Piraeus club to a 13 point lead over their nearest rivals at the top of the standings.

Olympiacos used a strong start to take the lead against the hosts. Seba’s fine run seeing the ball eventually reach Kostas Fortounis who from close range for the early lead in the 10th minute. 

Brown Ideye missed a fantastic one-on-one opportunity in the 22nd minute and the Erythrolefki were made to pay just two minutes later. One of the best Veria players this season, Jeffrey Sarpong, scoring with a nice finish to make it 1-1. 

Olympiacos found their footing relatively quickly however. 10 minutes later Marko Marin crossed into the box for Luka Milivojevic to head into the net as the visitors restored their advantage. Jonathan Lopez made some fine stops for Veria in the second half as Olympiacos had the bulk of the play and major chances. In the end, Bento’s men held on for the win. Veria will be pleased by the performance overall, but the reality is that with the defeat they now drop back into the relegation zone.

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


Panetolikos 0 - 1 PAOK
Mystakidis 62'

10-man PAOK took care of business in Agrinio as they overcame Panetolikos 1-0. It was a straightforward win for the Thessaloniki team as they continue their charge up the table. 

The victory was another big step for PAOK as far their playoff aspirations go. This was Vladan Ivic’s side’s 10th win in their last 11 matches in all competitions. PAOK were all over their opponents from the off and only a case of poor finishing and Dimitris Kyriakidis’ heroics in the Panetolikos goal  kept the visitors at bay. Stefanos Athanasiadis was given a straight red card in the 32nd minute, leaving his team with 10 men after he elbowed Dimitris Chantakias. 

Even with a player less, PAOK came out in the second half once again with the upper hand. The chances came and went however without a goal. That was until the 62nd minute however. Mystakidis, a second half substitute, headed home a beautiful Marin Leovac cross to give PAOK the lead. One might have expected Panetolikos to come out of their shell and pour forward for an equalizer. However, that wasn’t the case as PAOK held on with relative ease for the win.

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


Xanthi 0 - 0 AEK

No goals by the teams, but Xanthi and AEK did manage to produce two red cards in their 0-0 draw. While it was not a particularly vicious affair, the two teams did manage to combine for 40 fouls in a match that had only two shots on target.

Perhaps one of the reasons for the cautious approach taken by the teams was Rodrigo Galo’s red card in the 6th minute for a last-man tackle from behind on Adrian Lucero. Manolo Jimenez was forced into a reshuffle and Xanthi didn’t appear to want to take the initiative with Razvan Lucescu’s team much more comfortable when operating on the counter-attack. The best chance of the game came in the 37th minute, but Vasilis Barkas made a good save from Panagiotis Triadis.

Triadis went on to get sent off just before the hour when he incurred two yellow cards in the span of four minutes to see red in the 58th. The numbers may have got back to even, but the match maintained it’s dull tempo devoid of goalscoring opportunities. The draw may have well suited both sides. Xanthi remain in 2nd alongside Panionios with the point, while AEK stay undefeated in the three matches since Jimenez returned to the club as manager. 

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


Panathinaikos 0 - 0 Levadiakos

Panathinaikos produced another uninspired performance as they could not break down Levadiakos in a 0-0 draw. Marinos Ouzounidis must be worried about the current state of his team as they could not create much against a well-organized, but ultimately out-of-form Levadiakos team.

Things looks bright in the 5th minute when Panathinaikos came close to an opener, but Olivier Boumal could not connect with Giandomenico Mesto’s cross. That however was as good as it got for the Prasini who huffed and puffed in the first 45 minutes against a visiting side full of resolve on the defensive end.

It didn’t get much better after the break. Panathinaikos had two chances in the 66th and 76th minutes with Marcus Berg, but the usually reliable Swedish striker finished poorly on both occasions. In fact, the best chance of the match fell for Levadiakos. Odysseus Vlachodimos standing tall in a one-on-one versus Vaggelis Mantzios twenty minutes from time. The initial improvement seen after Ouzounidis took over now appears a distant memory and Panathinaikos look lost at the moment. Levadiakos will certainly take the draw, their second in a row, however while the result sees them leave the drop zone by a point, they have still gone 10 matches in a row without a victory.

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


Platanias 2 - 1 Kerkyra
Vanderson 48'
Manousos 84'
Thuram 39'

Platanias won a hard-fought affair 2-1 against Kerkyra in Crete. It was a big comeback win for the Chaniotes as they solidified 8th place in the table. Kerkyra did themselves proud with a committed effort, but in the end they were unable to have that little bit extra to earn something from the game. 

Thuram opened the scoring with shot into an empty net after Dimitris Sotiriou made an initial block on Mathieu Gomes’ shot. Platanias didn’t take long after the break to equalize. The goal was similar to Kerkyra’s as Giorgos Giakoumakis’ shot was saved by Fotis Koutzavasilis, but the rebound fell kindly to the onrushing Vanderson to tie the game in the 48th minute. Platanias controlled the half as it wore on and were the more threatening side. 

However, the visitors nearly scored in the 80th minute, but Denis Epstein managed to hit the post when clean through on an open goal. Michalis Grigoriou’s side would pay for that miss. Four minutes later, Platanias secured the winner. Giorgos Manousos won a penalty in the box and he scored from the resulting spot-kick to give his team the victory.

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


Asteras Tripolis 1 - 1 Panionios
Mazza (p) 44' Tapolo 47'

Panionios fought back to earn a 1-1 draw away to Asteras Tripolis. While the Nea Smyrni club were unable to press on a find a winner to give them maximum points, the draw will be seen kindly by supporters due to the difficult ground they were playing in. 

The home were the better team in the first half. Michalis Manias hit the post 15 minutes into the game in the opening period’s best opportunity. Asteras took the lead in the 43rd minute thanks to a Pablo Mazza penalty after Valentinos Vlachos handled the ball in the area.

The away team responded immediately after the break. Substitue Kevin Tapoko making it 1-1 with a left-footed shot in his first touch of the game. Panionios found confidence in the goal and nearly grabbed a second but the bar denied a Ben header just two minutes later. Both sides traded chances down the stretch, but they were also quite cautious and the resulting draw seemed like the fairest result.

Panionios stay in second with the draw, while Asteras take sole position of 10th place with the point. 

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


Atromitos 1 - 1 PAS Giannina
Le Tallec 60' Conde 90'+5'

A 95th minute penalty allowed PAS Giannina to snatch a draw in Peristeri against Atromitos. The equalizer at the death condemned Atromitos to a 5th straight match without a win, while Giannis Petrakis’ Giannina side avoided a second straight league defeat. 

The home started the brighter and had the better opportunities in the first half. The best of these coming in the 26th minute when Anthony Le Tallec’s header hit the post and went out of play. While PAS came more into the match after the half hour, the visitors had trouble carving out many openings as Atromitos dominated proceedings even after the break.

The breakthrough for Atromitos finally came on the hour as Le Tallec finished a nice attacking move by slotting home his own rebound to put his side up 1-0. The game seemed to be heading for a victory for the hosts, however late drama saw the unexpected happen. Noe Acosta’s headed pass was brought down well by Pedro Conde and the Spaniard finish inside the goal box for a dramatic equalizer. 

It was perhaps undeserved based on the balance of play, but Giannina struck at the most important moment. The draw doesn’t do much for either side as their playoff hopes seem to drift away with each passing week as the likes of PAOK and AEK gain a foothold on the race for the top 5.

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


Iraklis 1 - 1 Larissa
Rentzas (og) 43' Rentzas 10'

Vasilis Rentzas was the man at the center of the action as Iraklis and Larisa played out a 1-1 draw. The draw will certainly be better received by Larisa. Iraklis desparately needed the victory to help out their cause for avoiding relegation. The point won’t do much for their current situation and this was a match they will feel was a missed opportunity as they were the  much better side.

Sakis Tsiolis’ Larisa however were the team that began the match on better footing as they opened the score in the 10th minute. Rentzas saw his shot from a tight angle hit the back of the net as the Vyssini went ahead. After the half hour mark, Iraklis began to improve going forward. As Savvas Pantelidis’ side pushed forward the pressure began to tell. The tying goal came two minutes from the interval. This time
Rentzas produced another great finish, unfortunately this time he lobbed his own goalkeeper on an attempted clearance with the own goal allowing Iraklis back into the game.

The second half was just about all Iraklis. The hosts missed massive chances in the 71st minute from Dimitris Stamou and the 86th minute from Giannis Pasas as Larisa escaped with the point. 

*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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