The Super League title race will be a battle for two. After last weekend’s loss at the hands of Aris, PAOK were able to find their way back to the winning path by defeating AEK 1-0 at Toumba.
The home side will take the three points but manager Abel Fereira will surely not be pleased with the performance, as his team spent the majority of the game trapped inside the visitor’s half of the pitch with no way towards the six-yard box.
AEK manager Masssimo Carrera showed a team that looked comfortable to walk away with a goalless draw as his main objective was to keep PAOK from creating chances and for the most of the game, he was successful.
The champions looked uninspired in their efforts as they eventually started to throw high balls into the area hoping that something would come of them, yet not much did.
Yet they were eventually able to break down the AEK defence on one of the few occasions during which they kept the ball down and attempted to create something from open play:
Limnios passed the ball forward towards Swiderski, who beat his personal marker only to have his shot denied by goalkeeper Barkas, with the rebound falling to Vieirinha.
The former Wolfsburg winger was brought down inside the box by Andre Simoes, with the referee immediately pointing towards the spot.
The PAOK captain rose up to the challenge, taking the kick and scoring the only goal of the encounter.
AEK would end the game with only nine men left on the field, after both Niclas Hult and Marco Livaja were sent off in injury time.
This win allows the team from Thessaloniki to not only break away from AEK, who now have a difference of 12 points at third place, but also maintain the pressure on Olympiacos for first.
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The red-and-whites had a comfortable afternoon at Lamia, thrashing the local team 0-4, thanks to Youssef El Arabi’s first hat trick with the club.
The Moroccan was a constant threat for the opposition defence and his interplay with the team’s play maker, Mathieu Valbuena, seems to be a match made in heaven for the Piraeus club.
It was the Frenchman that provided the assist towards El Arabi for the first goal, finding his run in the heart of the box, while Valbuena also got his on name on the score sheet by successfully converting the penalty won by Kostas Tsimikas.
In other games for round 18 of the Greek Super League, Panathinaikos appeared comfortable as they pushed Panionios further towards relegation (3-0), while Aris was unable to escape central Greece with a win, as they were left goalless against AEL.
GREEK SUPER LEAGUE ROUND 18 RESULTS
Volos-Xanthi 1-3 (56′ Jendrisek, 67′ s.o. Ikonomou – 41′ Baxevanidis, 73′ Teixeira, 81′ OG Ferrari)
Panetolikos-Atromitos 0-1 (90+4′ Giakoumakis)
Asteras Tripolis-OFI 2-0 (45+2′ pen., 89′ pen. Barrales)
Lamia-Olympiacos 0-4 (69′ Pliatsikas – 40′, 51′, 81′ El Arabi, 70′ pen. Valbuena)
PAOK-AEK 1-0 (57′ pen. Vieirinha – 90+1′ so. Hult, 90+4′ s.o. Livaja)
Panathinaikos-Panionios 3-0 (14′ Donis, 45+1′ Macheda, 64′ Insua)