Panathinaikos thrashed Manchester United-conquering Olympiakos 3-0 away on Sunday and shattered the Reds’ unbeaten record in the Super League, while postponing the host’s crowning as champion for one more week. It has also preserved its unique status as the club to have won the league undefeated.
Goals by Danijel Pranjic, Marcus Berg and Mehdi Abeid forced Olympiakos’s first defeat after 36 Greek league games, just five nights after the Greek champion’s 2-0 triumph over United for the Champions League in the same stadium.
The ultra-tight pressing by Panathinaikos players and the exhaustion of Olympiakos from the match with United – as coach Michel fielded the same lineup as last Tuesday – saw the Greens snatch a historic away victory, that equals those from 1959-60 and 1987-88 in terms of margin.
Everything went wrong on the night for the Reds, as they had striker Michael Olaitan drop unconscious on the pitch for a few seconds in the first half before getting rushed to the hospital for tests, they missed a penalty that Chori Dominguez (scorer of the opening goal against United) skied at 2-0, and one of the home fans hurled an object that struck Panathinaikos manager Yiannis Anastasiou just below his left eye to force a five-minute stoppage to the derby.
“We showed that money is not so important in soccer, as what matters most is the heart,” said Croatian Pranjic, the scorer of the first goal at the Karaiskakis Stadium.
The result means that despite the complete dominance of Olympiakos in the Greek league for a second consecutive season, it is unable to maintain an unbeaten record in the league – a feat achieved only by Panathinaikos in 1963-64.
PAOK also slipped up on Sunday as it surrendered a 2-0 lead at Ergotelis from goals by Costin Lazar and Dimitris Salpingidis to draw 2-2 on Crete, due to a Gaetan Monachello shot and a Stelios Kitsiou own goal.
The Thessaloniki giant has cut its distance from Olympiakos to 19 points and is preparing to host the Reds next Sunday.
PAOK is now joined in the second spot by Atromitos, which put an end to Panetolikos’s unbeaten record at home winning 3-1 on Sunday.
Atromitos and PAOK are now five points ahead of Panathinaikos and seven ahead of Asteras Tripolis who downed Panthrakikos 1-0 at home.
In other weekend games Xanthi beat Levadiakos 4-1, Panionios drew 1-1 with Kalloni Lesvou, Aris was once again unable to win at home drawing 0-0 with OFI Crete and Veria shared a 1-1 draw with Apollon Smyrnis.
On Monday Platanias clashes with PAS Giannina at Hania.