CHRISTOPHER ANDERSON - Sunday, March 28, 2010
Hector Cuper's men celebrated their final home stand of the Super League season courtesy of a splendid free kick from Darcy Dolce Neto and assured themselves a spot in qualification for European competition next season.
Both of Aris' Americans got the starting nod from the Argentine skipper, with Freddy Adu going the distance, and Eddie Johnson registering 63 minutes of hard work up top.
The two nearly connected in the opening minutes of play off an Adu corner from the right side. The youngster swung in a left-footer to Johnson for a glancing header that almost sneaked inside the near post, but deflected out.
The visitors created their first opportunity of the evening when midfielder Nacho González chipped forward to Giorgos Barkoglou for a one-timer that didn't miss by much.
Midfielder Mehdi Nafti tried to open the scoring following a 33rd minute free kick. Neto laid off for the Tunisian from 35 yards out but his blast missed by inches.
In spite of a dominant half of offense from Aris with six corners and none conceded, the half ended scoreless.
Neto's break-through finally came almost twenty minutes into the second half after Giorgios Zisopolous brought down Adu ten yards from the penalty area.
Following Johnson's departure from the field for Sergio Koke, the Brazilian followed up Nafti's step-over with a curling kick over the wall for the one-goal advantage.
The Greens failed to threaten in much of the second half and succumbed to a lively Aris offense capable of more scoring.
Aris book their spot into the post-season play-off following Kavala's loss to Ergotelis, and find themselves three points adrift of AEK Athens, who equalized late in a 1-1 tie against Panionios.
Following the Easter weekend break, Aris strap on their boots and aim for the fourth spot when they travel to Asteras Tripolis.