Top-spot derby ends undecided
Football can often be unfair –something PAOK experienced on Saturday afternoon in Peristeri.
Răzvan Lucescu’s troops traveled to Athens determined to defeat Atromitos and keep their perfect record intact in the Super League Souroti. They displayed this determination on the pitch.
For 90 minutes, PAOK were better than their rivals, but Atromitos managed to equalize in one of their few arrays forward. The final result leaves a bitter taste.
Referee Tzilos and his assistants made the news in a negative manner, as they committed two serious errors at the expense of PAOK in the first half.
The “Double-Headed Eagle” started strongly and dominated proceedings, in their attempt to create danger in Atromitos’s area.
The first refereeing blunder came in the 3rd minute. Omar El Kaddouri was stopped with an erroneous offside call, as he was charging forward with only Megyeri to beat.
In the 18th minute, Atromitos came close to an opener with a shot by Ugrai from the half-line that hit the crossbar. Six minutes later, Tzilos waved “play” instead of pointing to the spot, after El Kaddouri was brought down by Strouggis inside the area.
PAOK didn’t give up and managed to break the deadlock with the most unlikely duo. Fernando Varela gained control of the ball on the left side, expertly evaded two rivals and teed up José Ángel Crespo for a strong finish.
After the interval, PAOK offered space to Atromitos. The home side made two substitutions, changed their formation and fought back.
The “Double-Headed Eagle” didn’t stop their effort to extend their lead. In the 66th minute, Léo Jabá wasted a huge chance to make it 0-2, as his shot went just wide.
Seven minutes later and against the run of play, Atromitos equalized with Ugrai’s powerful shot from an angle.
The last minutes of the encounter were riveting. PAOK staged a siege around Megyeri’s goal firing on all cylinders for a winning goal. Pontus Wernbloom and Aleksandar Prijović missed their respective chances in the 84th and 86th minute. In stoppage time, Atromitos’s goalkeeper denied PAOK when he intercepted Dimitris Limnios’s pass to Prijović who was lurking alone for the kill shot.
The 1-1 was the final result and the only two undefeated sides continue leading the standings: PAOK have 23 and Atromitos 21 points.
Atromitos: Megyeri, Sakic, Kivrakidis, Karasalidis, Risvanis, Strouggis (46’ N’Sikulu), Bušuladžić, Madson, Ugrai, Bruno (87’ Umbides), Mujakic (46’ Kotsopoulos)