SPORTS

PAOK needs controversial penalty to remain unbeaten

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Soccer

A highly controversial penalty awarded to PAOK on the sixth minute of the five-minute injury time of the game against Panathinaikos extended the champions’ unbeaten record in the league that stretches to 20 months, and maintained Olympiakos’ lead at the top to just two points.

PAOK drew 2-2 with the Greens seemingly blowing the chance to catch up with Olympiakos at the top, but actually escaping defeat through a decision via the Video Assistant Referee that has generated the protests not only of Panathinaikos but also of other clubs through the media.

Panathinaikos led just before half-time with Zahid, but substitute Adelino Vieirinha made it all square 20 minutes into the second half. Three minutes from full-time Emanuel Insua picked Federico Macheda and the Italian striker made it 1-2.

Then a minute after the expiry of the time added on, Slovenian referee Slavko Vincic waved “play on” after an apparently harmless push by Dimitris Kourbelis on Jose Angel Crespo. The Greek VAR Thanassis Tzilos reviewed the play, invited Vincic to the screen and to the relief of the crowd at Toumba and the astonishment of the visitors, the Slovenian pointed to the penalty spot. Vieirinha made no mistake 11 minutes after the 90th, and the 2-2 draw was sealed.

On Saturday Olympiakos had several chances to score at Xanthi, but the fifth-placed host held out for a goalless draw. The Piraeus club is now on 23 points, PAOK is on 21 and AEK on 17.

AEK beat Atromitos 3-2 after a gripping game at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday to climb to third and cut its distance from the top to six points.

Atromitos led with Giorgos Manousos getting the rebound from a penalty save, but AEK recovered to advance 2-1 through an own goal by Atromitos keeper Christos Mandas and a strike by Nelson Oliveira. One minute from the end Thanassis Androutsos equalized for Atromitos before Oliveira gave AEK all three points deep into injury time.

OFI dropped to fourth as it wasted its 2-0 advantage at the seventh minute at Larissa to lose 3-2 on Sunday at the AEL FC Arena.

Ten-man Panionios drew 1-1 with Aris, while Panetolikos remained winless after drawing 1-1 at home with Asteras Tripolis.

On Monday Lamia entertains Volos.

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