SPORTS

Greens and Reds draw 2-2 in spectacular derby

By George Georgakopoulos

Toche denied Olympiakos victory in the classic Greek derby as host Panathinaikos shared a 2-2 draw with the Reds for the Super League on Sunday evening in one of the most spectacular games between the two teams in recent memory.

Greek soccer desperately needs games like this, that could go some way toward restoring its credibility and advertising its quality.

The Greens led after 17 minutes thanks to a one-time right-foot shot by man-of-the-match Charis Mavrias, an 18-year-old winger who is a product of the Panathinaikos academy.

Olympiakos, however, had Rafik Djebbour on fire on Sunday as the Algerian international scored twice within 12 minutes to turn things around for the Reds by the 34th minute, as the Panathinaikos defense was unable to mark him properly.

First it was from a Djamel Abdoun cross that Djebbour turned it from close range and then from a corner kick that the league's top scorer with 11 goals had no problems in heading in as he rose unmarked.

However, the substitution of Olympiakos playmaker Ariel Ibagaza after an hour's play gave Panathinaikos more space in the midfield, and Toche made it 2-2 in the 67th minute after a Mavrias cross.

The host could have won it three minutes from time, when substitute Antonis Petropoulos failed to beat keeper Roy Carroll in a one-on-one situation in front of goal.

PAOK has now cut the distance from leader Olympiakos to eight points, as it defeated visiting Levadiakos 1-0 through a Lino freekick on Saturday, while third-placed Asteras Tripolis failed to beat struggling Aris as the two teams drew 1-1 at Tripoli.

Another spectacular encounter was that between Atromitos and OFI Crete on Saturday, that ended 3-2 for the host at Peristeri.

In other weekend games Xanthi climbed out of the drop zone with a 4-0 thrashing of Panionios, PAS Giannina returned from Corfu with a 2-0 win against Kerkyra, while Platanias and Veria shared a goalless draw.

On Monday Panthrakikos hosts AEK.

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