Olympiacos held to Athens Eternal draw by 10-man Panathinaikos
GREEK SUPERLEAGUE - MATCHDAY 24
|Olympiacos||1 - 1||Panathinaikos|
|Fortounis (P) 62'||Mounier (P) 87'|
French forward Anthony Mounier scored a late penalty to rescue a 1-1 draw for Panathinaikos in a tense Athens derby clash against Olympiacos at the Georgios Karaiskakis stadium on Sunday.
Kostas Fortounis came off the bench to put Olympiacos ahead from the penalty spot in the 61st minute after an uncharacteristically tame first half. Fortounis slotted home confidently after Panathinaikos defender Vangelis Oikonomou had been sent off for bringing down Olympiacos’ Iran striker Karim Ansarifard.
But despite their numerical disadvantage, Panathinaikos never gave up the ghost and they got the chance to pull level two minutes from full-time when Panathinaikos left-back Emanuel Insua was brought down by Bjorn Engels.
Substitute Mounier stepped up to side-foot the ball low into the bottom left corner of Silvio Proto’s goal.
The Olympiacos bench were up in arms as replays suggested that the offence was just outside the penalty area, but there was also a similar reaction from the Panathinaikos bench for the offence which led to the home side’s spot-kick.
The result leaves third-placed Olympiacos seven points adrift of league leaders AEK, and five behind second-placed PAOK with six matches to play. Olympiacos and PAOK both have pending disciplinary proceedings against them which could see each of them docked three points each in the coming week.
While the “Derby of the Eternal Enemies” is regarded as one of the world’s fiercest derbies, there was an eerily silence in this matchday 24 clash with Olympiacos serving the second and final match of a two-game supporter ban as part of punishments received for the pitch invasion which took place in the recent derby clash here with AEK.
Chances were few and far between in a tame first half as both teams probed tentatively without commitment too many players forward.
It took Olympiacos until one minute before half-time to create the first clear opening, and they should have scored from it.
Olympiacos controlled much of the possession but they could not get in behind a well-organised Panathinaikos defence. Right back Omar Elabdellaoui surged down the right flank before picking out Kevin Mirallas with a precise cross.
The Belgian forward had time to control the ball and tee himself up, but his right-footed, hooked shot flashed past Odysseas Vlachodimos’ right post with the Panathinaikos goalkeeper left motionless.
Panathinaikos did threaten sporadically and Robin Lod was agonisingly close to getting a foot to a low, left-wing cross from Omri Altman as he slide in but the ball fizzed just past his toe and out for a goal kick.
Olympiacos started the second half strongly and four minutes in Mirallas was rampaging down the left. He surged into the box and fired in a low shot which Vlachodimos saved with his legs. From the resulting corner big centre back Bjorn Engels then headed onto the top of the crossbar.
Feeling the need to refresh his attacking options, Olympiacos coach Oscar Garcia brought on Kostas Fortounis to replace Vadis Odjidja after 55 minutes. And it was the Greece international who made a crucial contribution to give the home side the lead after 61 minutes.
Fortounis confidently stepped up to stroke home a penalty which had been awarded when Panathinaikos defender Vangelis Oikonomou pulled back Karim Ansarifard as the Iran striker raced into the penalty area.
The Panathinaikos man was also shown a red card for the foul as the last player and from then on it seemed that the Greens had a mountain to climb if there were to salvage something out of the game.
Panathinaikos shuffled the pack, sacrificing Albanian creative midfielder Ergys Kace for defender Tasos Avlonitis, and introducing French forward Anthony Mounier for the ineffective Christos Donis.
Mounier was instantly involved, sending a cross-shot across the Olympiacos six yard box. Fortunately, for the hosts there was no Panathinaikos player running in to meet the ball and it rolled to safety.
Uros Djurdjevic, who replaced Ansarifard, missed a golden chance to kill the game off and make it 2-0 in the 82nd minute when he lobbed over the crossbar with only Vlachodimos to beat. Mirallas had provided a great low pass.
The Serbian striker lived to regret that miss as Panathinaikos drew level with the late penalty drama to deliver a major blow to their arch rival’s title credentials.