Olympiakos are back at the top of the Super League after a comfortable 3-0 win over basement boys Panthrakikos at the Karaiskaki Stadium on Sunday.
Having qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League already, the Reds capped off a great week by cruising to three points against their opponents from northeastern Greece.
Panthrakikos held out for 37 minutes but then good play from Kostas Mitroglou set up Luciano Galletti and he had no problem tucking away the opener.
Any chance of a highly unlikely comeback by the visitors was put beyond doubt just before half time when a neat move was finished off emphatically by Dudu.
The Brazilian, who has been criticised by many Olympiakos fans this season, made it 3-0 in the 58th minute when the ball fell to him following a corner and he responded with a flicked header that gave the goalkeeper no chance.
Earlier in the week, Olympiakos coach Zico had denied that he was considering bringing Brazilian striker Adriano to the club but did admit that he wants to buy four new players.
Two of those are the strikers, the Brazilian legend said, one is a left-sided player and the other is an attacking midfielder.
After a successful week like this one, maybe Zico will reconsider how much strengthening his team needs.
The game at the Olympic Stadium between AEK and Levadiakos, which finished in a 3-2 win for the Yellows was much more closely contested.
AEK opened the scoring through youngster Panagiotis Tachtsidis who curled a beautiful shot into the top corner from just outside the area in the 35th minute.
Ismael Blanco and Gustavo Manduca combined beautifully on the edge of the area for the Brazilian to fire in the second in the 44th minute.
Just when it looked like the Yellows would be going in 2-0 up at half time, Giorgos Barkoglou had a speculative shot from distance which bounced just in front of Yiannis Arabatzis and bounced over the young goalkeeper, leaving him red faced.
Levadiakos made it 2-2 early in the s56th minute when Victor Agali dispossessed Daniel Majstorovic and raced toward goal to slip the ball past Arabatzis.AEK complained that their captain had been fouled and replays showed that there had been an infringement before Agali got the ball.
AEK regained the lead just a minute later when a shot that turned out to be a cross from Tachtsidis was tapped in at the far post by Manduca.
Levadiakos had three good chances, including one that hit the post, in the closing stages but AEK held on for a much-needed win.
Despite AEK securing all three points, reports indicated that coach Dusan Bajevic was involved in a verbal exchange with a disgruntled fan and that stewards and members of the AEK technical team had to intervene to prevent the Serb chasing the supporter in the stands.
PAOK will be ruing their luck after coming away from Kavala with just one point following a 0-0 draw.
The Thessaloniki side hit the post and bar three times during the game and had several other good chances, including one for Vierinhas who signed a new contract this week, to get the goal that would have given Fernando Santos’s men all three points.
In Sunday’s other games, a goal right on half time by Lucas Favali was enough for Atromitos to beat Xanthi while Panionios through away a two-goal lead given to them by Fanouris Goundoulakis as Tumer Metin scored twice – once from the penalty spot and the other in injury time – to secure a point for the home side.
Nikos Nioplias got his reign as Panathinaikos manager off to a winning start on Saturday but had to wait until the latter stages of his side’s game at Iraklis to see Sotiris Ninis score the only goal of the game.
It seemed that Iraklis were going to spoil Nioplias’s debut on the PAO bench but in the 73rd minute, Djibril Cisse headed a cross back towards goal and poor clearance by a home defender fell to the feet of Ninis who unleashed an unstoppable shot from just inside the box.
Perhaps it was fitting that Ninis, a player Nioplias is very familiar with from his time as Greece’s U21 coach, should give his manager his first win.
Nioplias was no doubt very thankful as Iraklis had chances of their own and Alexis Tzorvas was forced into a couple of good saves.
The home side’s manager Savvas Kofidis felt that a draw would have been a fair result.
A couple of kilometres away in Thessaloniki, Hector Raul Cuper was labelling Aris’s 1-0 defeat to visiting Asteras Tripolis “a disgrace.”
Nigerian Shaloze Udoji Chigozie scored the only goal of the game in the 12th minute.
Cuper’s assessment did nothing to calm hundreds of angry Aris fans who gathered outside the ground after the game, demanding to speak to the players.
Riot police intervened and scuffles ensured. The Aris squad eventually left the Kleanthis Vikelidis stadium under police escort.
In Saturday’s other game, PAS Ioannina beat visiting Ergotelis with a goal from Giorgos Kousas in the 30th minute.
Meanwhile, Larissa officially announced on Saturday the termination of their contract with Stelios Giannakopoulos by mutual consent.
The former Olympiakos and Bolton Wanderers midfielder had fallen out with coach Marinos Ouzounidis and drew the wrath of the club’s fans with his behaviour in the last month, when he contradicted the coach in post-game statements.
The 35-year-old Euro-2004 winner with the national team spent the last 16 months at Larissa after his return to Greece from the Premiership but was never popular with the fans, probably due to his declaration of being an Olympiakos fan for ever and despite some great performances and winning goals he scored for the Thessaly team.
“If my behaviour and attitude have created problems to the team and have betrayed the dreams of Larissa fans, I humbly apologise,” said Giannakopoulos in a personal statement.