CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Sunday, February 14, 2010
Freddy Adu broke through his extended scoring drought with a game-winning strike as the Gods of War overcame an early goal and a red card to topple Ergotelis and put an end to their three-game winless streak.
The resurgent American Adu was the hero of the afternoon with the game-winner and his compatriot Eddie Johnson played through an hour also as a starter.
The visitors took the early lead barely 90 seconds after the opening whistle courtesy of Brazilian midfielder Beto. Following a Diego Romano delivery from the right side, the Brazilian took advantage of defender Darcy Dolce Neto when he slipped, and netted the easy strike from ten yards out past keeper Michalis Sifakis.
At the half-hour mark Sergio Koke decided to take things into his own hands, collected a Eddie Johnson feed, and swatted a 30-yarder at keeper Zsolt Posza, who somehow let the shot slip underneath him while trying to fall on the ball, thus allowing Aris to equalize.
Adu's first goal in Europe since October 2007 came right before the intermission. Neto made up for his earlier error with a fine run down the right side and a sliding delivery into the box. The 20-year old caught up with the feed right at the goal box and coolly tapped in past the helpless Posza for the go-ahead goal.
Aris faced the dilemma of finishing the last half-hour of the game a man down when Nacho Garcia was awarded his second yellow, which prompted coach Hector Cuper to quickly bring off the two Americans to shore up his defense. Johnson was relieved of his duties in the 61st minute and Adu joined him on the bench a minute later.
The Thessalonians fended off the Cretans for the remaining 30 minutes to claim the three points, but still remain in fifth with 35 points following AEK Athens' win over Panthrakikos on Saturday.
The Black and Golds will try to ride the momentum from the energizing home win into Wednesday's decisive Super Cup quarterfinal replay against Skoda Xanthi.