SLGR Matchday 30 Recap: PAOK Become ‘The Invincibles’; PAS Go Down; OFI Still Alive
AGONAsport’s George Tsitsonis brings you a full recap of matchday 30 action in the Greek SuperLeague.
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The 2018/19 Greek Super League season came to a close on Sunday with the final round of action. PAOK were crowned champions two weeks ago and on Sunday at PAS Giannina they managed to come through victorious ensuring they finished off an undefeated season. The 2-0 win saw PAS Giannina sent down to the second division which will be known from next year on as the Super League 2.
Elsewhere, OFI remained in the hunt for staying in the top-flight. A victory away to Atromitos saw OFI finish fourth from the bottom, avoiding direct relegation, but now needing to play a relegation playoff against Platanias to remain in the Super League.
Wins for Olympiacos, AEK, Aris, and Panathinaikos rounded out the final weekend of play.
Here is a match-by-match breakdown of the round including this week’s AGONAsport SLGR Awards:
55 years later after Panathinaikos achieved the feat, PAOK became only the second Greek club in history to finish an entire campaign without a loss, defeating PAS Giannina 2-0 in the final match of the season. Goals from Chuba Akpom and Yevhen Shahkov in the second half saw PAOK come away with a comfortable win. Meanwhile, the loss ensured PAS dropped to the second division for next season.
OFI’s hopes of remaining in the Super League were given a boost by a 2-0 away win to Atromitos. Juan Neira (21’) and Ismail Sassi (74’) scored for OFI, who now must play against Platanias (the second-placed team in the Football League) in a relegation playoff. Atromitos may have tasted defeat, but it was another strong season for the Peristeri side who finish fourth.
Olympiacos won their tenth straight match after disposing of Larisa 3-0 away from home. Ahmed Hassan scored halfway through the opening half. Two more strikes came after the interval as Omar Elabdellaoui and Mady Camara finished off the afternoon for Olympiacos who end up in second, five points behind PAOK, and eighteen ahead of AEK in third.
The score and performance of the weekend belongs to Aris. The Thessaloniki side trounced Xanthi 7-2 thanks to braces from Mateo Garcia and Nicolas Diguiny. The match was at 2-2 with just over twenty minutes to play when the home side incredibly scored five unanswered goals. Aris finish the season in fifth place while Xanthi end up in twelfth.
Panathinaikos’ rollercoaster of a season came to a close with a 4-0 home drubbing of Panetolikos. Federico Macheda scored a first-half brace in between an opening penalty conversion from Tasos Chatzigiovannis and a late strike from Dimitris Emmanoulidis. Panathinaikos finish in eighth place, one spot above Panetolikos, level on points, but ahead via head-to-head.
Asteras Tripolis confirmed their Super League status for next season with a 3-0 victory Panionios. Thanasis Papageorgiou’s own goal gave the home side a 24th-minute lead. Goals from Walter Iglesias and Nikos Kaltsas in the final half-hour saw Asteras finish off the season in style.
AEK had little problem in brushing off Levadiakos 3-0. The Kitrinomavri ended their campaign on a high by defeating the relegated Levadia club with goals from Tasos Bakasetas, Marko Livaja, and Ezequiel Ponce. AEK hold on to third place with the win and will contest the Greek Cup final against PAOK to finish off their season.
In Saturday’s lone match-up, Lamia came away with a 3-0 win against Apollon Smirnis. The victory caps an impressive season by Lamia whose seventh-place finish is the best in the club’s top-flight history.
Matchday MVP - Mateo Garcia (Aris)
The on-loan Las Palmas man finished off a fine season with a brace against Xanthi. The Argentinian winger has been a big part of Aris’ revival this season. Whether he remains at the club or not could determine how quickly Aris can get out of the blocks next season. The 22-year-old’s two goals this past weekend saw him finish with a respectable ten in the league this season.
Goal of the Matchday - Mateo Garcia (Aris)
Toward the end of Aris’ rout came a truly superb goal. Diguiny chipped a ball in from the top of the area and the incoming Garcia volleyed home for a fantastic finish. In a weekend full of goals, this was one of the best.
Save of the Matchday - Jeremy Malherbe (Panionios)
Malherbe may have been on the end of a 3-0 defeat and given up a penalty on his own for a foul in the box, but he produced a moment of brilliance as well. In the second-half he pulled off the save of the weekend by going full stretch to deny Walter Iglesias’ towering header.
Team Performance of the Matchday - Aris
It has to be the Thessaloniki club after their 7-2 win over Xanthi. The game was much closer than the final score suggests with 20 minutes to play. At 2-2, Aris exploded for five goals in the remaining time and picked up a memorable result. The feel-good factor surrounding the club is undoubtedly high heading into next season and the return of European football to the Kleanthis Vikelidis Stadium.
Surprise of the Matchday - OFI
It was a tough way to finish off the season for OFI, away to Atromitos. However, a spirited display with survival on the line brought out the best in the team. A 2-0 win ensured that the Crete side would have a chance to remain in the Super League if they can manage through a relegation playoff.
Disappointment of the Matchday - Xanthi
Yes, Xanthi kept things close until near the end, however the complete capitulation of the club in the final 20 minutes would have been cause for concern. This is a club with loftier aspirations than merely avoiding relegation, but changes will have to be made for next season to avoid being near the bottom and at the wrong of scorelines like the one on Sunday.