SPORTS

Reds and Greens win ahead of derby

By George Georgakopoulos

One week before the classic Greek derby between Panathinaikos and Olympiakos, both soccer giants scored 2-1 wins against the strong opposition of Panionios and Platanias respectively, in two games that mirrored one another.

On Saturday leader Olympiakos took an early lead at home through Djamel Abdoun and Vassilis Torosidis, with Platanias pulling one back later via Chigozie Udoji. In the second half Olympiakos dropped a gear or two ahead of the Champions League game with Arsenal on Tuesday in Piraeus.

The Reds have now opened a 10-point gap at the top and have mathematically secured the unofficial title of the "winter champion," which means they will finish the first half of the Super League on top.

In a very similar game at Nea Smyrni on Sunday, Panathinaikos scored twice within four minutes in the first half through Antonis Petropoulos and Loukas Vyntra, and then sat back in the second half, allowing host Panionios to reduce the arrears courtesy of Markos Dounis.

The Greens, who climbed up to sixth, might be excused for their performance in the latter 45 minutes given their trip to Tottenham this coming Thursday for the Europa League, where victory will see them through to the knockout stages.

Second-placed PAOK shared a goalless draw with Veria away, finishing one more game with 10 men. Veria missed a first-half penalty.

Asteras Tripolis snatched a 1-1 draw at Xanthi to stay third, just like fourth-placed Atromitos, who had to wait till the last minute to score the equalizer (1-1) at Aris, although the Thessaloniki club protests about a suspected handball by scorer Yiannis Skondras.

Levadiakos continued its streak of solid showings at home, downing Kerkyra 2-0, while OFI Crete escaped defeat at home right at the end by leveling the score against Panthrakikos at 1-1.

On Monday AEK hosts PAS Giannina at the Olympic Stadium.

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