When Olympiakos signed Javier Saviola in the summer, many people thought the former Argentine international would eclipse Greece striker Costas Mitroglou, as the biggest signing of the era of owner Vangelis Marinakis would surely be a mainstay in the starting lineup of the Greek champion this season.
Instead Saviola has not yet shone that much with the Reds, while Mitroglou is having the best season of his career to date, his latest accomplishment being winning the classic derby of Greek soccer for Olympiakos with a goal at Panathinaikos’s home ground on Saturday, to take his league tally to 13 goals.
The leader of the Super League scorers’ list struck in the 90th minute at the Apostolos Nikolaidis stadium for the Reds’ 1-0 win in a balanced derby, which made up for what it lacked in quality with suspense and excitement.
Olympiakos dominated the first half-hour of the derby in front of 16,000 Panathinaikos fans, but as the time went on the Greens balanced the game and produced four or five major chances that its strikers were unable to convert into goals.
Just as the encounter was heading to a scoreless draw, though, Mitroglou earned the ball outside the box, played a clever one-two with David Fuster and put the ball past Panathinaikos keeper Stefanos Kapino for the derby’s only goal.
Barring a few flares hurled onto the pitch, one of which came close to the referee, the fans were relatively well-behaved, and despite the odd complaints to the referee, officiating was good enough in this derby.
PAOK also scored a late winner to crack the tough nut that is this season’s Ergotelis as Zvonimir Vukic’s 93th minute goal gave PAOK a 2-1 win and kept it three points behind Olympiakos.
In one of the weekend’s most enjoyable games Panionios led twice but host Kalloni Lesvou (that played yet another home game at Thessaloniki) won 3-2 on Sunday.
OFI Crete beat 10-man Aris 2-0 and climbed out of the drop zone, that now hosts Aris as well as Veria, that drew 0-0 at Apollon. PAS Giannina returned to winning ways beating Platanias Hanion 1-0 and Levadiakos defeated Xanthi 2-0. Panthrakikos and Asteras Tripolis registered one goal and one red card each.
On Monday third-placed Atromitos greets Panetolikos.