The two teams at the top of the Greek Super League ladder, Olympiacos and PAOK, played it out last weekend at the “Georgios Karaiskakis”, but neither side was able to walk away with the win.
The 1-1 draw seemed to favour the visitors after the 90 minutes were up, as the home side wasted a series of chances to score a second goal that would give them a clear advantage for the rest of the season.
Most of them came in the second half, as the initial 45 minutes were wasted possession for Olympiacos who couldn’t break down their opponent’s defence, with the current title holders finding a rather fortunate goal by Ingi Ingasson on the 29th minute, after Jose Sa’s poor attempt to grab the ball from a Giorgos Limnios free kick.
Pedro Martins’ men came out of the dressing rooms looking determined to give answers to any doubters, but their efforts stopped half way as all they could do was equalise through a Mathieu Valbuena penalty kick, with the Frenchman coming off just a few seconds later due to an injury.
Martins chose a more attacking-minded formation when compared to previous matches, with Valbuena starting the game for the first time since October in the place of Mady Camara to organise the team’s play from the midfield.
On the other end, Abel Ferreira chose to keep his skipper Adelino Vieirinha on the bench, alongside Mauricio and Fernando Varela, in order to keep on eye on his defence.
The game began rather slowly, with the two teams trying not to make any errors that would prove costly and looking to find ways to brake down the opposition, with the home side appearing the more likely to create something due to the large amount of ball possession they enjoyed.
Yet, against the flow of play, it was PAOK who found the goal, forcing Olympiacos to come out of their area even more and apply the pressure on their undefeated opponents.
Martins made his first change on the 40th minute, taking off the rather timid Giorgos Masouras for the more lively Hilal Soudani, in a move that demonstrated that he wouldn’t be holding anything back.
While the first half found PAOK in the lead, it wasn’t meant to last as Daniel Podence was brought down inside the box by Dimitris Giannoulis early in the second, with the Spanish referee Sanchez Martinez pointing to the spot.
Valbuena successfully converted the penalty but that was all the home side would find from the encounter, as Youssef El-Arabi’s point blank header from a Tsimikas corner kick bounced off goalkeeper Zivkovic, while Soudani’s header went inches wide.
The home side expressed their complaints towards the referee as they claim that a penalty was not awarded to them on the 49th minute, after a clumsy challenge by Omar El Kaddouri on Podence.
Now the two sides will continue the race for first place and the playoff advantage, with a watchful eye on their opponents results.
GREEK SUPER LEAGUE ROUND 12 RESULTS
Panionios-Panetolikos 3-0 (16′ Arabuli, 80′ Arce, 90+3′ Emmanouilidis)
AEL-Volos 2-1 (57′ pen. Andoni, 84′ Dauda – 38′ Torres)
OFI-AEK 1-0 (52′ Semedo – 88′ s.o. Vranjes)
Panathinaikos-Asteras Tripolis 1-0 (8′ pen. Chatzigiovanis)
Xanthi-Atromitos 1-0 (59′ pen. Texeira)
Aris-Lamia 1-1 (31′ Larsson – 16′ Thuram)
Olympiacos-PAOK 1-1 (64′ pen. Valbuena – 29′ Ingasson)