Olympiakos loses Saviola too, ahead of Man Utd

By George Georgakopoulos

Olympiakos triumphed 4-0 at OFI Crete on Saturday but has lost another of its most experienced players, striker Javier Saviola, ahead of the Champions League clash with Manchester United on Tuesday, as well as the derby of eternal rivals against Panathinaikos next Sunday.

Marko Scepovic scored a hat-trick for the Reds after Paulo Machado had opened the score for the Reds at Iraklio over an OFI that has only scored five wins in 13 home games.

With Saviola sidelined, Costas Mitroglou off to Fulham since last month and Scepovic not in the roster for the Champions League, Olympiakos coach Michel will have to field 21-year-old Michael Olaitan up front and hope that experienced Nelson Valdez will have recovered from his injury by Tuesday to play some part in the game at the Karaiskakis Stadium coming from the bench.

PAOK shook off its loss to Benfica on Thursday for the Europa League to defeat Panthrakikos 3-0 at home on Sunday evening, with Zvonimir Vukic adding a brace to the Ergys Kace opener.

PAOK therefore regained the second spot of the table after conceding it for a few hours to Atromitos that downed visiting Xanthi 2-0, goals coming from Nikos Lazaridis and Vangelis Nastos. Atromitos owner and president Giorgos Spanos was remanded in custody late on Saturday for his alleged participation in a racket involved in fuel tax fraud.

Panathinaikos, in fourth, was unable to beat Ergotelis at home on Sunday, drawing 1-1. Danijel Pranic gave the Greens the lead in the first half but Ziguy Badinbaga equalized for the Cretan team in the second.

Aris lost 2-1 at Platanias Hanion to a controversial goal that only goal-line technology could have clarified. The lack of it meant Aris players and staff attacked the assistant referee who gave the winning goal to Platanias 14 minutes from time, the game was stopped for about 10 minutes and when it resumed two Aris players were sent off for their part in the melee.

Bottom-of-the-table Aris is now five points adrift Veria, that remained in 17th despite its surprise 1-0 win at PAS Giannina with an injury time goal.

In other games, Levadiakos beat fifth-placed Asteras Tripolis 3-1 at home and Panionios came from behind to down struggling Apollon Smyrnis 2-1.

On Monday Kalloni Lesvou hosts Panetolikos in Athens.