Aris and Panathinaikos snatch European tickets

Aris and Panathinaikos snatch European tickets

Panathinaikos and Aris have sealed their tickets to next season’s Europea Conference League qualifiers, but while the Greens did so easing to an emphatic home win over PAS Giannina, Thessaloniki’s Yellows did it the hard way, producing a rare comeback to beat AEK.

Aris won 3-2 in what was easily the match of the season on Saturday. After a goalless first half, Levi Garcia scored twice to give AEK a 2-0 advantage that the Athens team held up to the 78th minute.

But when the European ticket appeared lost for Aris, Luis Palma halved the arrears on the 78th and Daniel Mancini equalized on th 85th, before Mateo Garcia gave the host all three points on the 95th, for a particularly memorable night in the club’s history.

Panathinaikos also enjoyed a night to remember as it beat PAS Giannina 4-0 to return to European competitions after five years of absence. Greece’s most successful club in Europe has joined PAOK in second, thanks to goals by Lucas Villafanes, Mauricio, Carlitos and Juancar.

Champion Olympiakos shared a 1-1 draw with PAOK before hosting its title fiesta at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium. Filipe Soares gave PAOK the lead and Joao Carvalho equalized for the Reds.

With one round of games left to play, Olympiakos has 80 points, PAOK and Panathinaikos are on 61 and meet on Tuesday in Thessaloniki before facing off at next Saturday’s Greek Cup final in Athens. Aris climbed to 59, AEK stayed on 56 and out of Europe, and PAS Giannina has 46.

In the last round of games for the play-outs, relegated Apollon said fareweel with a 2-2 draw at Asteras Tripolis, while Lamia prepared for its relegation play-off with second-division Veria drawing 0-0 with Atromitos. Volos trounced OFI 5-0 allowing Ionikos to top this mini-league table thanks to its 3-1 victory over Panetolikos.

Levadiakos is returning to the top flight after three seasons in the second division. In the promotion play-offs of Super League 2 on Sunday it beat Veria 1-0 both away and at home to win the division’s title. Veria will get another chance for going up when it meets Lamia on May 22 and 29.

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