Olympiakos have gone clear at the top of the Super League after striker Costas Mitroglou inspired them to a 2-0 win over Panathinaikos on Sunday in a game whose kick-off was delayed for an hour due to trouble outside the ground.
The young Greece international pounced either side of half-time to secure all three points for injury ravaged Olympiakos and take Olympiakos to 30 points after 12 games, one point ahead of Panathinaikos.
The kick-off was delayed after riot police clashed with Olympiakos fans near the Karaiskaki Stadium. Police reported that several hundred Reds supporters had been lying in wait for the Panathinaikos players to arrive by coach.
As officers fought with fans, the Greens coach was stopped at the Panathinaic Stadium for an hour before it was safe for the PAO players and staff to continue their journey.
After spending 2.5 hours on the coach, perhaps it was no surprising that Panathinaikos started a bit sluggishly. Olympiakos, who left Vassilis Torosidis and Luciano Galetti on the bench, looked the sharper in the opening stages.
But the Greens soon came into the game and started to pepper Antonis Nikopolidis’s goal with shots.
However, as the game entered first half stoppage time, an Olympiakos free-kick was floated into the box, PAO failed to clear and a Dudu overhead kick ended up at the feet of Mitroglou, who tapped home from point blank range.
Going in 1-0 down was slightly unfair on Panathinaikos, who had 10 attempts on goal in the first 45 to Olympiakos’s two.
However, the Greens could not hit back early in the second-half and Mitroglou doubled the lead on 55 minutes when he connected with a sweet volley from a magic cross from Jaouad Zairi.
Panathinaikos were limited to mostly long range efforts as they went in search of a goal that might get them back in the game and in the end Olympiakos held on comfortably to secure a vital win that moves them above their fierce rivals.
Although that should be reward enough for the Reds, reports suggest that Olympiakos chairman Sokratis Kokkalis will be giving the team a bonus of 200,000 euros to split amongst themselves.
Aris are still looking for their first win under Hector Raul Cuper after being held to a 1-1 home draw by Panionios.
Darcy Neto opened the scoring for the home side with just seven minutes of normal time left but Panionios equalized in the third minute of injury time through Bennard Kumordzi.
The point leaves Panionios in sixth on 18 points and Aris in eighth on 16.
Also on Sunday, Larisa beat Kavala 1-0, Atromitos beat PAS Yiannina 2-1 and Panthrakikos remain without a win all season after losing 2-0 at home to Levadiakos.
AEK put aside its tragic first half performance with a spirited second half turn-around against PAOK in a 1-0 win on Saturday night at OAKA.
Gustavo Manduca was the goal scorer but Ignacio Scocco was the architect as he took on and beat two PAOK defenders to set up the game’s only goal.
PAOK’s Bruno Cirrilo was warmly greeted by fans of his former club, as members of the Original 21 fan group presented the Italian defender with flowers prior to the kick-off, and chanted his name during the game. There was the usual respect for PAOK’s coach Fernando Santos who also spent considerable time at AEK.
AEK’s first half performance was bordering on woeful. Despite playing at home against PAOK, a team notorious for its own apathetic displays in Athens against ‘the Big Three’, the home side showed little spirit, no plan and no pressure.
Only Scocco, Pantelis Kafes and the 19 year-old youngster Savvas Gentsoglou showed passion.
Reverting to a second half 4-4-2 with Scocco partnering Ismael Blanco up front, the change in system paid immediate dividends.
Barely three minutes after the re-start, PAOK’s defence was caught unawares as Scocco danced beyond the reaches of two defenders to fire a low and hard through ball to the waiting Manduca.
Though PAOK goal keeper Kostas Chalkias raised his hands in mock-protestation for offside, there was little question of the legitimacy of the goal.
The provider almost added his name to the score sheet, but only the woodwork stood between Scocco and what would have been a cracking long-distance goal in the 73rd minute.
Santos and PAOK showed spirit in chasing an equalising goal, but AEK and its 20,000 fans in attendance would emerge victorious in the first battle of the ‘dikefalo aeto’ of the 2009/10 Super League.
AEK moved up to fifth spot on the table with 18 points but the chasing Ergotelis and Panionios have a match in hand. PAOK remains in third spot three points above AEK with 21 points.
Crete side Ergotelis secured fifth place in the Super League standings with a strong 2-0 win over Macedonian side Iraklis in Thessalonica. It was Ergotelis’ third victory in its last four matches away to Iraklis.
Iraklis remains in 11th place with just 12 points from 12 matches and is five points adrift of Ergotelis which has 17 points.