PAOK bounces back to win at Asteras

PAOK recovered some of the ground lost in the Super League playoffs by beating fellow Champions League-spot contender Asteras 2-1 at Tripoli on Wednesday, while PAS Giannina and Atromitos shared a 1-1 draw.

The results have placed PAS Giannina and PAOK as joint leaders of the playoff table with seven points at the halfway point of the mini league, with Asteras on five and Atromitos on four points.

PAOK bounced back from its home loss to PAS on Sunday to score twice in three minutes, from the 77th to the 80th minute through Stefanos Athanasiadis and Costas Katsouranis and win at Tripoli.

Asteras earned a penalty in the last minute of the game that Emanuel Perrone converted, while PAOK’s Gordon Schildenfeld was sent off.

PAS and Atromitos shared goals, points and red cards at Ioannina. Atromitos led after two minutes through Thanasis Karagounis, but Stavros Tsoukalas equalized with a right-foot volley half an hour later.

Paul Keita of PAS and Shaloze Udoji of Atromitos were red-carded.

In the next round of games on Sunday PAOK greets Asteras and Atromitos hosts PAS.

It is by no means certain, though, that PAS Giannina will be able to play in Europe next year, as it is among the eight Super League teams that were not given a license to play in Europe and to make transfers next season.

These teams that were found on Wednesday to have failed to produce an adequate financial strength to get a license also include Panathinaikos, Aris, Panionios, OFI Crete and Panthrakikos, as well as relegated AEK and Kerkyra.

The decisions made by the licensing committee of the Hellenic Football Federation can be appealed. If nothing changes on appeal, PAS Giannina’s place in Europe will be taken by Xanthi.