Passionate Panathinaikos outplays its Eternal Rival


Panathinaikos ground out a 1-0 win over Olympiakos in the Derby of Eternal Rivals on Saturday, but it is Atromitos that continues to lead the table after a precious 2-0 win at Xanthi.

Panathinaikos showed much more passion than the Greek champion in a rather uneventful match played in unusually peaceful circumstances at the filled-to-capacity Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium in Athens.

Olympiakos appeared particularly cautious in the first half, failing to produce a single goal effort before the 51st minute of the game, while Panathinaikos put plenty of pressure along the halfway line and threatened the Olympiakos goal three or four times in the first half, without success.

Eventually it was Argentine Lucas Villafaniez who put the Greens in front 11 minutes after the interval, as he ran unmarked to get the spills from Silvio Proto after the Belgian keeper fingered away a Robin Lod cross from the left.

Substitute Karim Ansarifard was twice denied by Panathinaikos goalie Odysseas Vlachodimos on the 78th and 79th minute, with the Iranian striker having also the upright to blame for failing to score then.

The Germany Under-21 keeper came to the Greens’ rescue again on the 89th minute as he somehow managed to block Emmanuel Emenike’s effort inside the six-yard box, before Anthony Mounier wasted a great chance to make it 2-0 at the other end, lobbing the ball just over the crossbar.

Panathinaikos has risen to seventh, on 13 points (having started from minus two points), while Olympiakos is joint fourth on 14, five points behind leader Atromitos.

The Peristeri club remained unbeaten winning at Xanthi to reach 19 points, courtesy of a free kick by Amr Warda and a truly spectacular strike by Nicolas Diguiny.

AEK rose to second – at least until PAOK plays Asteras Tripolis on Monday evening – as a Sergio Araujo goal sank Panionios 1-0 at Nea Smyrni on Sunday. AEK has 17 points.

In bad news for the Greek national team – that is facing Croatia on November 9 and 12 in the World Cup play-offs – AEK midfielder Petros Mantalos appeared to have ruptured the cruciate ligament on his left leg.

In other weekend games Larissa ended the unbeaten run of Levadiakos beating it 1-0, Panetolikos drew 1-1 with Apollon Smyrnis, and PAS Giannina came from behind to beat visiting Kerkyra 2-1.