PAS Giannina is just three points away from qualifying to next season’s European competitions, but its 2-0 home win on Monday evening over AEK is sending the Athens club deep into relagation trouble.
The Epirus team has been one of the revelations of the season,coached by Super League first-timer Yiannis Christopoulos, and lies fifth at the table with two games left to play till the end of the regular season.
Two goals within five minutes, by Nikos Korovesis on the 35th and Fotis Georgiou on the 39th, have kept AEK just one point above the drop zone, while the injury to experienced goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos means he is not going to play any further part in AEK’s effort to stay up.
Sources suggest that the atmosphere in the AEK locker room at half-time and after the end of the game has made coach Ewald Lienen’s position on the AEK bench untenable. The name of former player and coach Nikos Costenoglou has already surfaced as a possible successor, to save AEK from the drop.
Lienen’s statements at full-time that “in the first half we did not play with 11 players but with fewer” can’t have gone down too well with the men who will have to try and spare the club the unprecedented embarrassment of a drop to the second division in the two weeks to come.