Marcus Berg scored a memorable goal to settle the Derby of Eternal Rivals on Sunday as Panathinaikos downed Olympiakos by just 1-0 missing numerous chances to extend its lead. The Reds had Stefanos Kapino to thank for his saves that prevented the champion from getting thrashed at the Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium.
The result changed little at the top, as second-placed Panionios also lost at third PAOK to stay six points off the pace, so Olympiakos still needs three wins in the five remaining games to clinch the Super League title.
Fourth-placed Panathinaikos, now nine points from the top, has earned the bragging rights across Greece not only for its win over its archrival but also for the way it imposed its game on its opponent, in a match that was unusually peaceful by the Greek Derby’s standards, and without any serious controversies regarding its officiating.
With 14 minutes on the clock Berg fed Viktor Klonaridis in the box whose shot was parried by Kapino and returned to Berg. The Swedish international raised his right foot and unleashed a horizontal volley that Kapino could do nothing about.
The Greece keeper then went on to deny the Greens time and again in the rest of the game, including a couple of spectacular saves in as many direct free-kicks by Paul-Jose Mpokou.
At the other end the Reds had no shots on target and just one off it, with its midfield and attack appearing to celebrate World Sleep Day two days late.
“The score should have been far higher in our favor,” said Panathinaikos manager Marinos Ouzounidis, while caretaker Vassilis Vouzas admitted that his Olympiakos players “were tired and under substantial pressure recently.” The derby took place just three days after Olympiakos crashed out of the Europe League through a 4-1 loss at Besiktas.
Vouzas stays on until the Piraeus club hires a permanent replacement of coach Paulo Bento. The one-week break for the national team fixtures provides Olympiakos with the opportunity to do so.
Dimitris Pelkas scored PAOK’s goal with the last kick of the game against 10-man Panionios to give the Thessaloniki team a 1-0 victory, but his obscene gesture while celebrating got him needlessly sent off. To its credit PAOK issued a statement condemning his behavior.
AEK won its second Athens derby in a row, this time against Atromitos, having Petros Mantalos score the game’s only goal at Peristeri on Saturday.
The relegation battle has really heated up, with Larissa downing Panetolikos 1-0 at home to move up to 24 points, Asteras Tripolis failing to beat PAS Giannina at home (1-1) reaching 22 points, Levadiakos snatching a 2-2 draw at Xanthi to climb to 19 points, and bottom team Veria triumphing 4-0 over Kerkyra to join Iraklis on 16 points, with the last two going down.
Iraklis is visiting Platanias at Hania on Monday.