Aris deny Panachaiki with late leveller
GREEK FOOTBALL LEAGUE - MATCHDAY 22
|Panachaiki||1 - 1||Aris|
|Eleftheriadis 43'||Dounis 88'|
Football League leaders Aris Thessaloniki preserved their unbeaten record at Panachaiki, saving a point in a highly eventful 1:1 draw in Patras.
Third-placed Panachaiki looked set to hold on to a crucial 1:0 victory against Aris, but a late marker from Markos Dounis denied the hosts before three red cards were witnessed in stoppage time.
Panachaiki fans packed out the Kostas Davroulis Stadium, organising an impressive mosaic card display for one of the season’s key matches. However, during the tense opening stages, it was Aris who had the best opportunity. A loose ball fell to the unmarked Paschalis Kassos at point blank range, but he fluffed his lines with the goalkeeper helpless.
Eventually, the deadlock was broken on 43 minutes. Aris goalkeeper Alexandros Anagostopoulos got strong palms on Georgios Fotakis’ drive, but Christos Eleftheriadis was on hand to steer the ensuing rebound into the net and send the home supporters into raptures.
Aiming to protect their lead in the second half, Panachaki managed to restrict Aris to a limited amount of chances and could have even doubled their advantage. In-form forward Panagiotis Moraitis found himself clean through, but he could only thump his effort against the goalkeeper’s body.
In the end, the hosts were made to pay for their profligacy. Just two minutes before the final whistle, Aris forward Markos Dounis stepped up to the plate, curling a clever free kick into the right corner.
With tempers reaching boiling point, Georgios Dasios and Michalis Bastakos were both dismissed after getting into a nasty brawl. Aris’ Georgios Valerianos received a second yellow card to leave the away side with only nine men in the dying minutes, but Aris held on to the draw.
Aris now occupy joint top spot of the Football League on 54 points with high-flying OFI. Panachaki are seven points behind in third.