Greens held in four-goal thriller
GREEK SUPERLEAGUE - MATCHDAY 16
|Panathinaikos||2 - 2||Xanthi|
Castro 90'+7' (P)
Panathinaikos were held to a 2-2 home draw by Xanthi on Sunday as a late, added-time penalty converted by Matias Castro denied the Greens a come-from-behind win at the Olympic Stadium that had looked on the cards.
Giorgos Donis’ young Panathinaikos team fell behind to Castro’s 19th-minute opener, but they rallied to go 2-1 ahead courtesy of second-half goals from Giannis Bouzoukis and Dimitris Kolovetsios in what was a highly entertaining clash.
But, just when it seemed that the Greens would take three points from their first league contest of the year, Castro was awarded a penalty after being fouled by PAO defender Theofanis Mavromatis.
The Xanthi forward stepped up to slot home from 12 yards in the seventh minute of added time and clinch a vital point for Milan Rstavac’s team, which moves them up to seventh place, while Panathinaikos remain in fifth spot.
Panathinaikos came into their first league match of 2019 in need of a pick-me-up after having lost 1-0 in the first leg of their Round of 32 Greek Cup clash against Lamia in mid-week. But it was the visiting side who took the initiative in the early stages.
And Xanthi’s bright opening was rewarded after 19 minutes when Castro deflected a shot from French team-mate Sofiane Khadda past PAO keeper Sokratis Dioudis.
The home side recovered well though after half-time and were on level terms three minutes into the second period when Bouzoukis fired home a precise low shot after picking up possession at the back post following a deep left-wing cross.
Panathinaikos then turned the game on its head by taking a 2-1 lead in the 68th minute through Kolovetsios, who headed past Xanthi goalkeeper Zivko Zivkovic from the rebound after Christos Donis’ shot had been saved.
The Greens missed a brilliant chance to make the game safe with 10 minutes left but Italian striker Federico Macheda was thwarted by Zivkovic when clean through on goal, and the hosts were to live to regret that miss in the 97th minute when Castro won and converted his penalty leveller.
Panathinaikos: 1 Dioudis, 2 Johansson, 3 Insua, 4 Kolovetsios, 8 Donis, 9 Macheda, 10 Mournier, 11 Chatzigiovanis, 18 Bouzoukis, 24 Mavromatis, 26 Kace
Xanthi: 20 Zivkovic, 5 Baxevanidis, 9 Kovacevic, 10 Durickovic, 11 Khadda, 18 Castro, 27 Sylla, 30 Meliopoulos, 31 Lisgaras, 32 Casado, 77 Brito
HIGHLIGHTS: PANATHINAIKOS - XANTHI