PAOK join Olympiakos at top of play-off table
Aris beat the Reds with two Johnson goals
PAOK have joined Olympiakos at the top of the play-off mini-table as they shared a goalless draw with AEK in Athens while Olympiakos lost 2-0 at Aris on Wednesday.
The 0-0 result between AEK and PAOK was the only fair outcome of a dull contest at the Olympic Stadium with little goalmouth action in either end.
PAOK were the better side in the first half with AEK a little improved in the second, but it must only be the Thessaloniki side that emerged satisfied with the result.
On the other hand the match at the Kleanthis Vikelidis stadium in Thessaloniki was far more entertaining, with Aris bouncing back from defeat at the Greek Cup final four days earlier.
Aris scored their first goal at the 40th minute through a well-driven header by US striker Eddie Johnson after a cross from his compatriot Freddy Adu.
Olympiakos's best chance in the first half was a cross by Raul Bravo that lobbed Aris keeper Michalis Sifakis to hit the post at the 42nd minute.
Olympiakos hit the woodwork again at the 52nd minute through a powerful right-foot shot by Matt Derbyshire that Sifakis pushed toward the crossbar denying Olympiakos the equaliser.
One minute later Aris earned a harsh penalty as Giorgos Galitsios marked Adu in the box, the American fell and the referee pointed at the spot while booking Galitsios.
Yet Sergio Koke's penalty was not the best of his career and Olympiakos goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis saved it at the 54th minute.
Aris then weathered the pressure by Olympiakos before Johnson scored his second goal at the third minute of injury time.
The American made the most of an Olof Mellberg error in Olympiakos's defence and rounded Nikopolidis to slot the ball in.
Play-off standings (after one game): Olympiakos 4, PAOK 4, Aris 3, AEK 2.
On Sunday Olympiakos greet AEK and PAOK host Aris.
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