Valdez hat trick helps Olympiakos shake off United loss

By George Georgakopoulos

Nelson Valdez scored a hat trick in the first 14 minutes as Olympiakos recovered from its elimination to Manchester United with a 4-1 thumping of Ergotelis on Crete on Sunday, in a weekend when all top five teams ended victorious.

After the fastest hat trick in Super League history by Paraguay's Valdez, Joel Campbell added the fourth from the penalty spot before half-time, with Ergotelis pulling one back in the second half via Abdisalam Ibrahim.

Atromitos and PAOK remained tied in second, 18 points off the pace, but their home wins could not have been any more different. Atromitos dismissed struggling Platanias 3-0 at home, while 10-man PAOK had to come from behind to see off PAS Giannina 2-1 in a game with spectacular goals by Miroslav Stoch for the host and Andi Lila for the visitor.

Panathinaikos, in fourth, scored its fourth win in four games downing Apollon 3-1 thanks to a brace by the league’s new leading scorer, Sweden’s Marcus Berg, and an own goal by Thanassis Panteliadis. Darren Ambrose had equalized for Lawrie Sanchez’s team.

Asteras Tripolis has completed the lineup of the four teams to contest the Champions League playoffs after beating Panetolikos 1-0 at Agrinio.

Aris is all but relegated after letting its 1-0 lead slip at Komotini on Saturday to lose 2-1 to Panthrakikos. Relegation will come for the Thessaloniki club – that is nine points from safety with four games left to play – on its centenary.

In other games Xanthi defeated Panionios 2-0, Levadiakos beat Veria by the same score and Kalloni Lesvou saw off OFI Crete 1-0.