Round four of Greek Super League One featured not one, but two eternal rivalries between the clubs of the nation’s two largest cities.
In Athens late on Sunday night, Olympiacos, who had managed to fight back against Tottenham Hotspur in a 2-2 draw for day one of the UEFA Champions League a few days earlier, were up against a torn Panathinaikos side, who were coming from two heavy losses.
The Greens were considered heavy underdogs in the game, yet as it was eventually proven, in these types of matches, once the referee blows the whistle all predictions go out the window.
Pedro Martins chose the same 11 players that fought against the Spurs a few days earlier, in an attempt to point out the significance of the match. Yet this only impeded his cause, as the team seemed tired and affected by their efforts, with the ball moving around the pitch pointlessly. The home side were unable to make the most of their visitor’s poor performance however, and were entirely too focused on defence.
Olympiacos capitalised on this, and in one of their few visits to the Panathinaikos area, they found the opening goal with Tsimikas making the cross from the left and Guerrero bringing the ball down nicely inside the area and sending it into the back of the net to give his team the lead.
Not much else happened in the first half, with the two teams going into the break looking very quiet.
The second period the Greens appeared more determined to get something out of the game, and on the 60th minute they found a lifeline. Ruben Semedo brought down Federico Macheda inside the area with the referee awarding the penalty. However Jose Sa was there to prove the reason why the club was so determined to hold on to him during the summer transfer period, putting a stop to the Italian from the spot kick.
The referee initially thought that the Portuguese keeper jumped of his line too soon and ordered the kick to be taken again, yet after the advice of the VAR, he recalled his decision.
The missed penalty lowered the home side’s morale and not many chances were created up until the end of the game.
On a last ditch effort, Panathinaikos broke into the Olympiacos area and Macheda was again brought down, this time by Yassine Meriah. Giorgos Donis ordered Yohan Mollo to take the kick and the Frenchman made no mistake, putting the ball past Sa and giving his team a valuable point.
A few hours earlier, PAOK hosted Aris at Toumba, with the visitors looking to walk away with something good from a very hostile atmosphere.
They started the game well enough, taking the lead through Brown Ideye after a nice effort and cross from Fetfatzidis from the left, yet PAOK answered almost immediately with Leo Matos.
The Yellows were able to withstand the onslaught that came after, as the home side had a series of wasted opportunities but couldn’t find the net. Aris were eventually able to come forward and they found their second thanks to a shot by Javier Matilla from outside the area. Yet the champions kept piling the pressure and eventually found the equaliser through midfielder Josip Misic on the ninth minute of injury time.
It was a heated game that was marked by the dismissal of a player from either side (Matos from PAOK and Sasha from Aris).
In other games, AEK were able to extend their winning streak and close the gap from the top, walking away with all three points from Etoloakarnania, while Xanthi fell from the top after their 3-0 loss at Larissa.
SUPER LEAGUE ROUND FOUR RESULTS
Volos – OFI 1-0 (75′ Torres)
Asteras Tr. – Atromitos 2-1 (3′, 6′ Fernandez – 53′ Risvanis)
Panetolikos – AEK 0-1 (69′ Livaja)
AEL – Xanthi 3-0 (35′ OG Terki, 53′ Milosavljevic, 83′ Bertos – 60′ s.o. Lisgaras)
PAOK – Aris 2-2 (6′ Matos, 90’+9′ Misic, 68′ s.o. Matos – 4′ Ideye, 88′ Matilla, 71′ s.o. Sasha)
Lamia – Panionios 1-1 (69′ Bejarano – 90’+2′ Arabuli)
Panathinaikos – Olympiacos 1-1 (90′ pen. Mollo – 35′ Guerrero)
ROUND FIVE FIXTURES
Saturday 28 September
5.15 pm Aris – AEL
7.30 pm Olympiacos – Lamia
8.00 pm Atromitos – Panetolikos
Sunday 29 September
3.00 pm OFI – Asteras Tripolis
5.00 pm Xanthi – Volos
5.15 pm Panionios – Panathinaikos
2.30 pm PAOK – AEK