CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Thursday, April 29, 2010
Eddie Johnson provided the fireworks with help from Freddy Adu in an upset of Olympiacos, improving their chances of clinching a Champions League berth.
Both Americans featured in the starting eleven, and Adu exited just before the curtain fell and Johnson's second goal hit the back of the net.
Adu set up the first attack of the game with a nice drive along the left touchline, feeding Johnson for a try that sailed wide of Antonis Nikopolidis's net.
Darcy Dolce Neto joined in the offense at the half-hour mark with an individual effort from 30 yards out that didn't miss by much.
The opener finally came in the 40th minute after nice work deep in the left side from Adu, in which the 20 year old faked to his right, then left for a feed into the box. Johnson was there to soar for the header from ten yards out that arced past Nikopolidis for the 1-0 lead.
Raul Bravo provided the first opportunity for the visitors just two minutes later when his 30-yard blast from the left side pinged off the right post of Michalis Sifakis's net.
Olympiacos' comeback attempt continued in the 52nd minute when Matt Derbyshire delivered a 35-yarder off the crossbar.
Things nearly turned worse for the Reds just two minutes later when Georgios Galitsios brought down Adu in the box and referee Georgios Daloukas pointed to the spot. Sergio Koke stepped up for the conversion but Nikopolidis waved the shot away to safety.
Konstantinos Mitroglou thought he had an equalizer in the 55th but was deemed offside.
Hector Cuper relieved Adu of his duties in the 89th minute, just minutes before Johnson's nail in the coffin.
Off a lazy back-pass from Swedish defender Olof Mellberg, Johnson pounced on the ball, found room to the right of Nikopolidis and slotted home for the second of the game.
The win brings Aris into the race for the coveted spot in the Champions League, being aided by a scoreless draw between AEK Athens and PAOK that puts Aris in third and just a point behind Olympiacos and PAOK.
The Black and Golds pay a visit to their crosstown rivals PAOK on Sunday with a chance to take the lead in the standings.