SPORTS

Olympiakos beats PAO 2-1 in controversial derby

Raffik Djebbour scored an injury time goal to hand Olympiakos a 2-1 home win over Panathinaikos in an entertaining but controversial win at the Karaiskakis Stadium on Saturday.

The win means that Olympiakos is now 10 points clear of second-placed Panathinaikos with just seven games left and seems certain to regain the Super League title from the Greens.

Djebbour’s goal came after 91 minutes and at the end of a second half during which Panathinaikos looked the more likely to win the game.

The home side had taken the lead in the 20th minute when star striker Kevin Mirallas won a foul on the edge of the box after a clumsy challenge from Gilberto Silva.

The Belgian ghosted behind the Panathinaikos defensive wall to collect a precise pass from Ariel Ibagaza before turning to slot the ball beyond Alexandros Tzorvas in the Greens’ goal.

Olympiakos had most of the play in the first half as Panathinaikos failed to get going in attack, leaving the league’s top scorer Djibril Cisse isolated up front.

Nevertheless, Panathinaikos felt it should have had a penalty in the 44th minute when Olympiakos captain Vassilis Torosidis headed the ball against his arm while under pressure from Sotiris Ninis.

It seemed a clear case for a spot kick but the referee blew for a foul by Ninis. Replays suggested that there had been minimal contact between the winger and the defender.

The Greens put their frustration aside in the 58th minute when winger Sebastian Leto floated a free kick into the box but the ball was missed by everyone and a despairing dive by Reds’s goalkeeper Urko Pardo failed to prevent it going into the net.

In his 100th game in Greek soccer, it was a sweet moment for the Argentinean, who is one of the few players to appear for Olympiakos and then move to Panathinaikos.

The Greens thought they had scored the winner in the 82nd minute from a corner when Costas Katsouranis poked the ball in at the far post after a Gilberto Silva shot but the midfielder was flagged for offside. Replays suggested that the Greek international had been onside.

Panathinaikos’s sense of injustice was even greater when Djebbour scored the winner in injury time. The ball fell to the former AEK striker after a cross into the box, he coolly chested the ball and volleyed past Tzorvas.

But Panathinaikos felt that Marko Pantelic, who had just come on as a substitute should have been flagged for offside as he was standing between Djebbour and Tzorvas when the goal was scored.

The goal was followed by a tussle between Vassilis Torosidis and Leto. The Olympiakos captain was sent off for headbutting the winger.

The Reds’ win was soured even further when dozens of fans ran onto the pitch at the final whistle, some of whom assaulted Panathinaikos players as they were leaving the field.