Greek Super League 2017/18: Matchday 1 Recap

Greek Super League 2017/18
Matchday 1 Recap



Date Home Team Score Away Team
19-Aug-17 Asteras Tripolis 1 - 2 PAS Giannina
19-Aug-17 Xanthi 0 - 0 Lamia
19-Aug-17 Olympiacos 4 - 1 Larissa
20-Aug-17 AEK 2 - 0 Panetolikos
20-Aug-17 Levadiakos 0 - 0 PAOK
20-Aug-17 Kerkyra 0 - 1 Panionios
20-Aug-17 Platanias 1 - 1 Panathinaikos
21-Aug-17 Atromitos 1 - 1 Apollon Smyrnis

Olympiacos and AEK picked up opening day victories on Matchday 1 of the 2017/18 Greek Super League. Panionios and PAS Giannina also won while both PAOK and Panathinaikos dropped points on a relatively low-key first weekend of play.

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Olympiacos began their title defense with a routine 4-1 win over Larisa at the Karaiskakis Stadium on Saturday. Larisa had a big chance to equalize in the 73rd minute when the score was 2-1, but Stefano Kapino made a big stop and Olympiacos went on to score twice more in the final quarter of an hour. Kostas Fortounis bagged a brace as the home side strolled to their first win of the season.

Also on Saturday, PAS Giannina picked up a good away win as they overcame Asteras Tripolis 2-1. PAS raced out to a 2-0 lead in the first half and though Asteras hit back early on in the second half, the visitors held on for the three points.

Lamia managed to nab their first ever top-flight point as they drew 0-0 away to Xanthi. Both sides had chances at the Xanthi FC Arena, however no breakthrough could be made by either team. 

In Sunday’s action, AEK defeated Panetolikos 2-0. Both sides were reduced to 10 men as Hugo Almeida and Marcos Paulo were red-carded in the 28th and 48th minutes respectively. Almeida managed to score from the penalty spot in the 14th minute and AEK also received a late insurance goal from Jakob Johansson. 

PAOK were left frustrated after a 0-0 draw away to Levadiakos. The Thessaloniki side had the bulk of the chances, but couldn’t find the end product in a game where both coaches were red-carded after a verbal altercation in the first half. 

Panathinaikos were also singing the away-day blues after their 1-1 draw at Platanias. New signing Andres Chavez scored for the Prasini to give them the lead on 72 minutes, but Nikos Korovesis equalized seven minutes later to claim a point for the hosts.

Panionios opened up the campaign with an away win at Kerkyra as Michalis Grigoriou came up against his old club. The two teams each missed penalties within six minutes of each other at the end of the first half. However, Panionios found the goal they needed eight minutes after the break through Fiorin Durmishaj. 

In the Monday night match, Apollon Smyrnis rescued a point against Atromitos thanks to a late Eli Elbaz equalizer in a match that finished 1-1.

Matchday MVP

With a brace in the first match of the season, Kostas Fortounis takes the MVP award for Matchday 1. The Greek international experienced a mediocre season last year, but has begun the current campaign with a very strong performance. Besides his two goals, Fortounis was at the heart of all of Olympiacos’ good work and only missed out on a hat-trick due to some good goalkeeping.

Goal of the Matchday

David ‘Fonsi’ Nadales’ looping header for PAS Giannina earns Goal of the Matchday honors this week. The Spanish defender produced a truly astonishing strike after receiving a cross from Bruno Chalkiadakis as PAS opened the scoring early on against Asteras Tripolis.

Honorable mention goes to Nikos Kaltsas’ 49th minute strike for Asteras in the same game. Kaltsas ran onto a masterful Pablo Mazza pass and beat the goalkeeper to the ball, chipping him from a very acute angle. Two delightful strikes in perhaps the best match of the weekend.

Save of the Matchday

Odisseas Vlachodimos tops the chart during Matchday 1. The 23-year-old German goalkeeper for Panathinaikos made a big stop on Yevhen Budnik’s header, blocking the Ukrainian’s powerful effort by quickly going down to his left in the 57th minute. 

Play of the Matchday

Olympiacos’ fourth goal versus Larisa was a well-worked team goal. Thanasis Androutsos won the ball and played it Felipe Pardo. The Colombian played the ball in from the right into Karim Ansarifard. The Iranian conjured up a beautiful backheel pass to the third man running Kostas Fortounis who controlled and stroked the ball home.

Team Performance of the Matchday

Platanias may have only managed a draw, but their overall performance against Panathinaikos was very good. Giorgos Paraschos led his team to a very good season last year and his side seem on track to build upon that this season. 

Surprise of the Matchday

Levadiakos managed to spoil PAOK’s first match of the new season with a 0-0 draw at home. Jose Anigo’s men showed a real willingness to battle which should be of great benefit to them this season as they seek to preserve their top-flight status.

Disappointment of the Matchday

It was the same old story for PAOK against Levadiakos. Chances created, but not converted and the result was dropped points in their first match. If a title challenge is to be had this season by the club they will simply have to figure out how to win matches like this.

by George Tsitsonis
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