PAOK celebrated on Sunday, and well into Monday morning, the third league title in its history, and the first after 34 years on a historic night at Toumba Stadium of Thessaloniki.
The new Super League champion defeated relegated Levadiakos 5-0 to retain its five-point advantage over Olympiakos with just one game left to play. The match was quickly reduced into a formality, with two goals by Yevhen Sakhov and strikes by Diego Biseswar, Fernando Varela and Karol Swiderski.
The most touching moment of the evening was on the 90th minute, when PAOK’s injured captain Adelino Vieirinha limped to the touchline to become the team’s third substitution. Therefore despite his injury – he is about to undergo operation soon – he entered the pitch, with tears in his eyes, as the 35,000 fans at the 33,000-seat stadium chanted his name.
An hour later he would take the coveted Super League trophy in his hands to lift it in ecstasy.
PAOK has won the title with 77 points out of a possible 87 points having started on minus two, and will become only the second ever team to finish the league unbeaten if its avoids defeat on May 5 at PAS Giannina.
This may not be as easy as it appears on paper, as the Ioannina team was on the verge of relegation on Sunday losing 2-1 at Panionios, but the equalizer of Asteras Tripolis at OFI (1-1 final score) has meant PAS will stay up if it beats PAOK at home and OFI loses at Atromitos.
For Atromitos, victor of Panathinaikos with a 2-0 score on Sunday, the match against OFI gives it the chance to overtake AEK right at the end and finish third, if AEK fails to beat Levadiakos away. This is due to the shock 1-0 home loss AEK suffered to Larissa, from a Slavko Bralic goal.
Olympiakos downed host Lamia 3-1 with goals from Mady Camara, Costas Fortounis and Ahmed Hasan. Jean Luc Assoubre had equalized for Lamia.
In the day’s other games, Aris won 2-1 at Panetolikos and Xanthi eclipsed relegated Apollon Smyrnis 2-0.
This has been the first time in three decades (from the 1987-1990 period) that there have been three different league champions in the last three years, with Olympiakos in 2017, AEK last year and PAOK now.