Olympiacos and Panionios Go 2 For 2 (Matchday 2 Recap)

Olympiacos and Panionios Go 2 For 2
Matchday 2 Recap



Date Home Team Score Away Team
26-Aug-17 Platanias 0 - 2 Xanthi
26-Aug-17 Panetolikos 2 - 2 Atromitos
26-Aug-17 Lamia 0 - 1 Olympiacos
27-Aug-17 Panathinaikos 0 - 0 Levadiakos
27-Aug-17 PAOK 3 - 1 Kerkyra
27-Aug-17 Panionios 2 - 0 Apollon Smyrnis
27-Aug-17 PAS Giannina 0 - 0 AEK
28-Aug-17 Larissa 1 - 1 Asteras Tripolis

Olympiacos and Panionios were the only two sides to have maximum points after the completion of Matchday 2 of the 20178/18 Greek Super League.

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Defending champions Olympiacos struggled against top-flight new boys Lamia, however picked up a 1-0 away win for their second win of the season on Saturday. Kostas Fortounis’ 29th minute spot-kick was the difference in a tight match at the Peristeri Stadium. Lamia’s home ground is not yet ready for matches, but the newly-promoted team acquitted themselves well against their opponents. Stefanos Kapino had to make a couple important stops as Olympiacos played the last 20 minutes with 10 men thanks to Hrvoje Milic’s red card.

On Sunday, Panionios showed they are ready to build on last season’s fine campaign with a 2-0 victory over Apollon Smyrnis. Michalis Grigoriou’s team were superb in stretches and the result in Nea Smyrni was never in doubt. The home side got goals from Ehsan Haji Safi (39th) and Lazaros Lambrou (56th).

PAOK picked up their first win of the season by defeating Kerkyra 3-1. Kerkyra drew level on the stroke of halftime with a Fabio Nunes penalty that had cancelled out Aleksandar Prijovic’s opener. Second-half goals from Dimitris Pelkas and Robert Mak gave a relatively routine victory.

Panathinaikos were a big disappointment again as they could only manage a 0-0 home draw against Levadiakos. Marinos Ouzounidis’ men played with 10 men from the 49th minute as Stefanos Evangelou picked up a second bookable offense. Both sides had chances, but the visitors threatened more often with Brandao and Mohamed Youssof both guilty of wasting big chances.

AEK had to be content with a 0-0 draw away to PAS Giannina. The Kitrinomavri had the best chances of the night with two efforts at the end of each half coming back off the woodwork. However, it was PAS who were probably the better side as Giannis Anestis pulled off some good saves to keep the hosts at bay. 

In Saturday’s two early matches, Xanthi defeated Platanias away 2-0 while Panetolikos and Atromitos played out a 2-2 draw. Two first half from Brito and Erik Jendrisek powered Xanthi in Crete. While in Agrinio, it was a topsy-turvy as the home fought back on two occasions to rescue a point through Vlad Morar’s 79th-minute goal.

In the Monday night game, Larisa fought back from a goal down to get a point at home against Asteras Tripolis.  

Matchday MVP

Ehsan Haji Safi scored a peach of an individual goal for Panionios rounding off another fine display for his new club this weekend. The 27-year-old Iranian left-back is proving a fantastic pick-up with another class performance. Haji Safi picked up an assist in the opening match of the season and his ability to help in attack could be a massive boost for Panionios this season.

Goal of the Matchday

Xanthi’s second goal of the day was a thing of beauty, a true team goal. Adrian Lucero played the ball to Pablo de Lucas into the box. The Spanish midfielder deftly back-heeled for the overlapping run of compatriot Jorge Casado. His cross was driven in and Erik Jendrisek stabbed home from six yards out beating out his marker. The 25th-minute goal was a swift attacking move involving multiple players.   

Save of the Matchday

Giannis Anestis probably had the best overall performance of the weekend including an awesome reflex save in the first half against PAS Giannina. But, that comes a close second to the Save of the Matchday which was from Apollon Smyrnis’ goalkeeper Ivan Covic. The Croatian came up with a bewildering point-blank stop from Fiorin Durmishaj who thought he was about to score from a couple yards out only to be stymied by Covic’s reactions.  

Play of the Matchday

Lazaros Lambrou scored a delightful goal for Panionios after a give-and-go with Fiorin Durmishaj, but the Play of the Matchday goes to a defensive effort from Lamia’s Mark Asigba against Olympiacos. The Ghanaian defender reacted brilliantly as he covered behind his goalkeeper to make a goal-bound clearance from Karim Ansarifard’s chipped shot. The 67th-minute play showed impeccable timing and willingness to prevent a goal. Lamia ultimately lost, but Asigba’s intervention kept them in the game.

Team Performance of the Matchday

Panionios. The Nea Smyrni might have changed coaches and sold some players, but their recruitment has been superb and they appear to have the squad to do well again this season. If their first two performances are anything to by, this is a team primed and ready to fight for another European place this season.

Surprise of the Matchday

For the second straight week, Levadiakos nab this honor. After drawing against PAOK last week, the Livadeia club managed to shut down another big team in Panathinaikos on Sunday. Levadiakos are showing they are a tough nut to crack defensively. They also managed to show some good attacking moves though too and against lesser sides should be expected to start scoring more goals. 

Disappointment of the Matchday

This has to go to AEK, though Panathinaikos are not far behind after another draw. AEK looked to be in superb shape after trouncing Club Brugge on Thursday. Truth be told they were missing some key personnel for the match against PAS Giannina, however if they are to be a factor in the title race these are the sort of matches they must win.

by George Tsitsonis
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