The Greek League Review: AEK and Panionios suffer surprise setbacks

With the international break looming, week six of the Greek Super League saw a number of key matches take place.

Olympiacos aimed to get back on track, AEK looked to extend their lead at the top of the table, and sleeping giants Panathinaikos were in need of a pick-me-up.

 

The Greens regain some confidence

The weekend got started on Saturday, as Panathinaikos hosted PAS Giannina in the Greek capital.

The Greens have come across troubled times recently, winning only one match in the league and faced with bankruptcy. Nevertheless, the fans showed their loyalty by filling the atmospheric Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium.

To head coach Marinos Ouzounidis’ delight, Panathinaikos players gave a performance which rewarded their supporters’ belief. The scoring was opened by an unfortunate own goal from Giannina’s Alexios Michail, who inadvertently deflected Oscar Hiljemark’s header beyond his own goalkeeper.

Swedish forward Guillermo Molins doubled the lead just two minutes later, curling in a delightful free-kick. Odysseas Vlachodimos made a couple of key saves for the hosts, seeing Panathinaikos through to a confidence boosting 2:0 victory.

 

A night to forget for PAOK

Later in the evening, PAOK Thessaloniki had a chance to go temporarily top of the standings if they could beat struggling AEL.

PAOK predictably bossed proceedings in Larissa, breaking the deadlock on the brink of half time. Vierinha made a fantastic pass to the onrushing Leo Matos, who cleverly half-volleyed into the net.

It looked as though the Thessaloniki outfit would cruise to victory, but they were punished for not putting the game to bed.

PAOK substitute Efymios Koulouris was shown a red card on 85 minutes, an incident which proved to be the turning point. Sandi Krizman looped in an equaliser from close range in the dying moments, and when the full-time whistle was blown, an AEL coach appeared to spit at PAOK’s Omar El Kaddouri.

A night to forget for PAOK.

 

Olympiacos’ woes continue

Sunday’s schedule began with a headline match between Olympiacos and Atromitos Athens.

Olympiacos were in desperate need of a win, but Atromitos weren’t willing to surrender their unbeaten status. The reigning Greek champions controlled the majority of possession in Piraeus, however they failed to break down Atromitos’ well drilled back line.

In the end, Atromitos nicked an unlikely win with a goal after 60 minutes. Kyriakos Kivrakidis planted a firm header past the outstretched palms of Silvio Proto, handing Atromitos a victory which takes them up to fourth place in the table.

As for Olympiacos, their plight continues. Without a win in four consecutive league matches, the champions find themselves in the midst of a crisis. The international break has certainly come at the right time.

 

AEK suffer a surprise loss

Current leaders AEK Athens travelled to Tripoli for a tricky tie with Asteras.

AEK had beaten Olympiacos 3:2 in a pulsating Athens derby last week, and they followed up that win with a positive 2:2 draw against Austria Vienna in the Europa League. However, head coach Manolo Jimenez made a number of changes for this game, a decision which completely backfired.

To the surprise of many, AEK put in a shocking performance against an average Asteras team. Juan Munafo scored the all-important goal for Asteras moments after half time, pouncing upon an error from stand-in AEK goalkeeper Panagiotis Tsintotas.

AEK failed to find their rhythm, and Michalis Manias sealed their fate with a late goal for Tripoli. Asteras claim their first win of the campaign, but AEK miss a huge opportunity to extend their lead in the table.

The doors had opened for Panionios to move into first place.

 

Panionios fail to capitalize

With Olympiacos, PAOK and AEK all slipping up at the weekend, Panionios were gifted with the chance to take pole position in the standings on Monday. However, just like their rivals, the Athens club were embarrassed.

Newly promoted PAS Lamia claimed a tight 1:0 victory at home to Panionios, and the deciding goal was something special. Marko Blazic struck a sweet volley into the right corner on 78 minutes, giving Lamia their second win of the campaign.

Panionios stay in third place of the table, two points behind leaders AEK.

 

Other results

In other results, high flying Levadiakos beat Apollon Smyrnis 2:1 in dramatic circumstances, Panetolikos made it two successive wins with a 3:0 beating of Platanias, and Xanthi saw off Kerkyra’s challenge 2:0. Greek Super League actions resumes on October 14th.

 

Written by Shaun Nicolaides

Follow Shaun on Twitter @zenitfan93

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