Greece: Olympiakos all but seal title against Pana (+video)
This weekend saw another in the series of the not-so-subtly named Derby of the Eternal Enemies between defending Greek Super League champions Panathinaikos and record champions Olympiakos. The latter were the home side and were leading the table by seven points before Saturday’s game kicked off in Piraeus, the port town just outside of the Greek capital Athens.
Olympiakos had lost the first derby of the season in October with Panathinaikos winning 2-1 to ensure that the title race would be a two-way affair between Greece’s most successful clubs. Olympiakos lost out on the 2009-10 title to their arch-rivals which was the first time in six years – and the second time in fourteen years – that the Thrylos (the Legend) had had to play second best. Seeing Panathinaikos lift the league and cup double was too much to bear for the Olympiakos faithful who, after a disastrous 2009-10 campaign in which they saw three coaches come and go, welcomed back Spaniard Ernesto Valverde to the dug out for the second time. In his previous spell as Olympiakos coach Valverde won the 2008-09 league and cup double and, having endured an unsuccessful year back in his homeland with Villarreal CF, he was more than happy to venture back to the Piraeus club for a second spell at the start of the current season.
WATCH OLYMPIAKOS FANS WELCOME THE TEAMS BEFORE THE GAME
The move looks like it will pay off for Olympiakos who, having defeated Panathinaikos on Saturday with a 2-1 home victory, now lead the Greek Super League standings by ten points with just seven games left to play. Olympiakos took the lead in the 20th minute after Kevin Mirallas broke away from the Panathinaikos wall from a free-kick to fire the ball from close range. Sebastian Leto equalized for Panathinaikos thirteen minutes after the half-time interval which cranked up the tension in the Karaiskakis Stadium and with both teams really needing the victory to help their title chances the game became frought with fouls and dirty play. However the home side were to enjoy the final say in this particular encounter after Rafik Djebbour put Olympiakos ahead in the 89th minute to seal the three points and all but secure the club’s 38th championship in the process.
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