Olympiakos and Panathinaikos lost games they should not have lost in the Europa League on Thursday, but PAOK saved some face for Greece on the night with a precious away win in the Czech Republic.
Cypriot champion APOEL added another scalp to its collection of the last seven years in Europe, beating Greek champion Olympiakos 1-0 in Piraeus to move up to six points.
Cyprus international striker Pieros Sotiriou headed the ball home just 10 minutes into the game at the Georgios Karaiskakis stadium, sending the 1,600 APOEL fans delirious at the stands, while the Reds’ defense was unstable to say the least.
Olympiakos hit the woodwork three times, but most of its attacks were unorthodox and an easy prey for the APOEL defenders. The Reds, who are in deep crisis, are now left with three points from two games.
Stefanos Athanasiadis was the hero for PAOK as the Thessaloniki club followed up its home draw with Fiorentina with a 2-1 win at Slovan Liberec.
The hosts scored from the very first minute through Nikolai Komlichenko, but PAOK responded quickly, earning a penalty on the ninth that Athanasiadis converted a minute later for 1-1.
The time went on with both teams missing chances, but it was PAOK’s captain who settled the contest with his goal eight minutes from time. PAOK is now on four points from two games.
Panathinaikos lost 2-0 at Celta Vigo as it crumbled in the last 10 minutes of the game in Spain. It was a loss Panathinaikos should have avoided.
The Greens were dominant for the first 80 minutes, had two goals disallowed and a clear penalty offense on Victor Ibarbo waved off, and when their depleted team felt its legs too heavy the Spaniards struck, first with John Guidetti on the 84th and then with Daniel Wass on the 89th.
Manager Andrea Stramaccioni made no substitutions up to the 88th minute, and now has to think how he will take his team off the bottom of the group after two losses in as many games.