CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Sunday, January 31, 2010
Freddy Adu debuts and sets up Eddie Johnson for the Fulham loanee's first goal, but Aris concedes the three points at ten-man Xanthi.
Both Americans were brought in as substitutes for Hector Raul Cuper's men with Adu and Johnson picking up 25 and 19 minutes of play respectively.
Poor field conditions with standing water at the Skoda Xanthi Arena made for a sloppy match in which referee Anastasios Kakos dished out six yellows including two to Xanthi defender Spyros Vallas.
The hosts gained the advantage in the match with two tallies in a little over a half an hour to hold the fourth-place occupants at bay.
The opener came at the quarter-hour mark courtesy of Marcelinho after a feed from the right side found the Brazilian at the top of the area.
Aris's Toni Calvo pivoted away from the shot expecting it to fly wide. Instead, the left-footed strike slipped in just inside the left post of Michalis Sifakis's net for the 1-0 lead.
Watford loanee Nathan Ellington provided the eventual game-winner off another cross from Mauro Poy on the right side threaded through two defenders and Sifakis to the Jamaican for the easy right-footed chip into the net.
The moment Freddy Adu had been waiting for finally came in the 65 minute, replacing Toni Calvo in the left midfield for his Aris debut. Six minutes later, his compatriot Johnson replaced Sergio Koke due to an injury.
The two teamed up for the comeback attempt a minute into extra time when Adu unleashed a 20 yard-pass from the left side for Johnson sprinting ahead of the Xanthi backline. The 25-year-old American tapped the feed and with the help of a deflection of Gspurning's leg caught up with the loose ball in front of the open net for the easy left-footer.
Adu nearly orchestrated an equalizer in the waning seconds with a cross from just outside the area on the left, but found no one in the box for the tap-in.
The Black and golds remain in fourth in the Super League standings with 32 points, two ahead of AEK Athens, but eleven behind Olympiakos and PAOK Thessaloniki.
Aris return to Thessaloniki to host cellar-dwelling Panthrakikos on Saturday, 3-2 winners this weekend over Ergotelis.