CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Sunday, January 17, 2010
Fulham loanee Eddie Johnson stepped onto the field as a substitute for the second time since donning the black and gold, while Freddy Adu's debut will have to wait another week as Aris downed Giannina on Sunday.
Aris struck just over five minutes into the second half after Sergio Koke drove down the left flank and found Toni Calvo at the touchline. The Spaniard returned the favor with a looping delivery into the box for Koke's header to Mehdi Nafti at the top of the box. The Tunisian unleashed a screaming volley that slipped beneath Giannina keeper Dimitrios Eleftheropoulos for the deciding goal.
Freddy Adu looked to make an appearance after warming up on the sideline in the 58th minute until Aris fans invaded the field. After the 15-minute interruption, the 20-year old returned to the bench for the remainder of the game.
With their rhythm and tempo disrupted, the hosts saw hopes of a comeback dashed three minutes later after a Mirnes Šišić goal was disallowed due to a questionable offsides call. Referee Andreas Pappas also aroused an uproar from the home crowd later in the second half when Aris's Efthimios Kouloucheris appeared to bring down Ibrahima Bakayoko from behind in the box.
Hector Raul Cuper opted to bring in Johnson for Javier Campora with a dozen minutes left, as he had for the Fulham striker's debut last Wednesday.
Giannina finished the forgettable match with ten men after Brazilian defender Vanderson Scardovelli picked up his second yellow for hitting Calvo a few minutes before the final whistle
The win brings the fourth-place Thessalonians to 31 points, stretching the lead over losing Asteras Tripolis to five points, but doesn't bring them any closer to crosstown rivals PAOK, 1-0 victors over Tripolis.
The recent good run displayed by Cuper's squad will be put to the test next Sunday when Super League titans Panathinaikos come to town.