By fire and sword
PAOK went up against everyone and everything at Livadia and secured a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Levadiakos that will permit them to spend the holidays as league leaders.
The match at Livadia was very strange indeed. PAOK had to manage their absences, fatigue and low morale from recent setbacks. An early goal would be the ideal recipe –and they did just that, Giorgos Tzavellas breaking the deadlock in the 12th minute. The Greek international left full-back starred in the first half, both with his goal and with his dismissal in the 23rd minute. In a quarrel with Vangelis Mantzios the situation got heated, they came to blows and referee Pappas sent them both off. The two teams took some time in getting used to playing with 10 players and the rest of the first half passed without any significant chances to score, apart from Facundo Pereyra’s shot denied by the woodwork.
The complexion of the encounter changed after the interval. PAOK hit the ground running and Facundo Pereyra tested Michalis Sifakis’ reflexes for the second time, giving PAOK a two-goal lead. The “Double-Headed Eagle” tried to keep on to the result, but they were forced into substituting Dimitris Papadopoulos and Miguel Vítor. Their line-up changed dramatically and so did the match balance. Levadiakos pressured and carved out some really good chances to reduce distances, mostly getting denied by alert Charles Itandje. Koné scored in the 80th minute for the home side and the last stretch of the match turned into a thriller. Referee Pappas would dismiss all foul claims in favour of PAOK who were trying to buy some time, but on the other hand would whistle every foul possible in favour of Levadiakos –especially the one in the 93rd minute on the edge of the area…
The players of Angelos Anastasiadis managed to hold on to the victory because of their passion and their determination to remain at the top of the standings.
Levadiakos: Sifakis, Skempis (58′ Giakoumakis), Georgiadis (86′ Nikolakakis), Magas, Vukčević, Tomas, Sánchez (30′ Sotelo), Milosavljev, Koné, Gómez, Mantzios
PΑΟΚ: Itandje, Skondras, Vítor (63′ Pozatzidis), Tzavellas, Raț, Maduro, Kace, Pereyra (89′ Savvidis), Salpingidis, Athanasiadis, Papadopoulos (53′ Golasa)