All square in the derby
Olympiacos and PAOK shared the spoils of a 1-1 derby draw on Sunday at the Georgios Karaiskakis stadium on Matchday 12 of the Super League, with both teams continuing to lead the way at the top of the table.
In the event, it was a derby clash that began long before the actual match kicked off, with the PAOK squad arriving late at the stadium due to some clashes between Olympiacos supporters and police in an area that was supposedly closed off. There was also some provocative chanting from accredited home supporters aimed at PAOK vice president and managing director Chrysostomos Gagatsis.
The responsibility for what happened at the time of PAOK’s arrival, as well as what could have happened at the half-time interval but only did not occur by pure chance, falls at the door of the Greek state, and the police, who allowed a team to behave in ways which sets Greek football back several years by a clear disregard of rules and regulations.
After the unsavory incidents were finished and the match got underway, PAOK and Olympiacos showed just why they are the two best teams in Greece at the moment, serving up an enthralling encounter.
The home side started strongly and tried to get an early goal in first 15 minutes, however, Pedro Martins’ side failed to pose a serious threat on Zivko Zivkovic’s goal. From there on up to half-time, the Dikefalos tou Vorra took control of the match and deservedly went 1-0 up through Ingason in the 29th minute. The Icelandic central defender scored from close-range at the second attempt after his initial header was saved by Jose Sa from Josip Misic’s free-kick.
In the second half, Olympiacos managed to play their way back into the game and applied considerable pressure on the PAOK goal. The visitors responded well, however, and while keeping the Red and Whites’ out, PAOK also missed a good chance on 60 minutes with Misic the unlucky player not to score.
In the 64th minute Dimitris Giannoulis slid in on Daniel Podence in the penalty area and a spot-kick was awarded. Mathieu Valbuena scored from 12 yards to make it 1-1. After that, PAOK gave Olympiacos too much space, but still defended well and also missed two opportunities with substitutes Mauricio and Dimitris Pelkas unable to convert decent chances.
Olympiacos pushed forward in the closing stages, but each time they got through they PAOK defence, they were stopped by Zivkovic and both sides had to settle for a point and remain joint-top of the Super League standings.
Olympiakos (Pedro Martins): Sa, Tsimikas, Papadopoulos, Semedo, Omar, Bouchalakis (60 ‘Kamara), Guilherme, Valbuena (66’ Guerrero), Masouras (41 ‘Soudani), Pondence, El-Arabi