Top Teams With Strong Starts
The big clubs picked up opening day wins in the first weekend of the 2018/19 Greek Super League.
Watch LIVE from AGONAsport: AEK -Vidi, UEFA Champions League Playoffs on Tuesday August 28th. Details here.
Defending champions AEK, last season’s runners-up PAOK, and Olympiacos all managed to win their Matchday 1 fixtures. Elsewhere, Panathinaikos also impressed while Atromitos and Larisa began the season with away victories.
AEK got their title defense started with a 2-0 victory over PAS Giannina at the Olympic Stadium in Athens on Saturday evening. New signing Ezequiel Ponce scored the opener for AEK eight minutes before the break. Just after the restart, Croatian striker Marko Livaja added a second for the Kitrinomavri as they strolled to their first three points of the season.
PAOK faced a tougher time against Asteras Tripolis, however they managed to come away with a 1-0 win thanks to Aleksandar Prijovic’s penalty kick in the 58th minute.
Lazaros Christodoulopoulos continued his blistering August form as he led Olympiacos to a 1-0 home win over Levadiakos. The Greek international fired home a superb long-range free-kick in the 62nd minute to make the difference for an Erythrolefki side who created several chances, but had trouble with their finishing touch.
Panathinaikos put forth an impressive display in a 1-0 away win to Xanthi. Giorgos Donis’ team could have won by more on the night, but settled for the narrow win that came from a fine long-range finish from 20-year-old midfielder Ioannis Bouzoukis twenty minutes from time.
A Efthymis Koulouris brace led Atromitos past Panetolikos 2-1 on Saturday. Damir Canadi’s men picked up right where they left on last season taking the lead through the on-loan Koulouris after 36 minutes. Franco Mazurek’s penalty pulled the home side level at 1-1 going into the break. But, Koulouris settles the match in the 72nd minutes scoring the winner for his new side on his debut.
One of the weekend’s most entertaining matches took place in Nea Smyrni with Panionios and OFI playing out a 2-2 draw. Giorgos Masouras struck first for the home side inside ten minutes. A Juan Neira quickfire brace (23’, 26’) turned the match on its head, before Panionios drew level again just before halftime with Dimitris Stavropoulos scoring.
Larisa’s away woes from last season appear to be banished after they recorded a 1-0 at Apollon Smyrnis. Milos Deletic’s 30th minute goal was the difference between the two sides.
Finally, in this week’s Monday night match, Aris made a triumphant return to the top-flight with a 3-0 victory away to Lamia thanks to goals from Nicolas Diguiny, Mateo Garcia, and Bruno Gama.
Matchday MVP - Efthimis Koulouris (Atromitos)
The 22-year-old has struggled for consistent playing time in recent seasons for PAOK, but showed quickly he is ready to make his mark as the main striker at Atromitos. Koulouris’ two headers against Panetolikos won the match for his new side and gave the Greek international a big confidence boost heading into the rest of the season.
Goal of the Matchday - Lazaros Christodoulopoulos (Olympiacos)
After scoring great free-kicks against Olympiacos last season, now Christodoulopoulos is scoring them for the Piraeus side. His 30-yard free-kick against Levadiakos was the pick of this weekend’s goals.
Save of the Matchday - Devis Epassy (Levadiakos)
The 25-year-old French goalkeeper saved a penalty from Kostas Fortounis, but that was not his best save of the match against Olympiacos. That came eight minutes from time when Miguel Guerrero’s lob saw Epassy backpedal furiously in order to produce a superb bit of goalkeeping by tipping the ball over the bar.
Team Performance of the Matchday - Atromitos
Atromitos may have lost Amr Warda, Andreas Gianniotis, and Nicolas Diguiny, but in the first weekend of the season they did not appear to have lost a step. Damir Canadi’s men came through a difficult opening match away to Panetolikos with a fine win and can look toward the new season with increased optimism.
Surprise of the Matchday - Panathinaikos
Normally, a Panathinaikos victory away to Xanthi wouldn’t be termed a shock. However, given all the problems the Prasini have had over the last two years with financial difficulties and the fact they have an extremely young side made up of mostly young Greek players it was a surprise, not only that they won, but that they performed so well in their first match.
Disappointment of the Matchday - Xanthi
With only one shot on target, Xanthi will be disappointed in what they offered going forward against Panathinaikos. Their defensive organization was also not there as their opponents had several good chances to score. For a team that just missed out on a European spot last season, much more is expected.