SPORTS

Xanthi keeps up the heat on indomitable Olympiakos

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

Platanias celebrated a 1-0 win over Panathinaikos on Thursday.

TAGS: Soccer

Xanthi appears to be the only credible challenger to leader Olympiakos left after the midweek set of Super League fixtures that were rescheduled from last August.

The champions are nine points clear at the top of the table after coming from behind to beat Asteras Tripolis 2-1 on Wednesday, and Xanthi saw off host Iraklis 1-0 on Tuesday to remain alone in second as Panathinaikos suffered a shock loss at Platanias on Thursday.

Asteras led at the Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus through a controversial penalty that Pablo Mazza converted. The Reds’ fans jeered their players at half-time, but the hosts were more determined in the second half to earn all three points through goals by Costas Fortounis and substitute Marko Marin, the winner coming deep into injury time.

Xanthi outplayed Iraklis in Thessaloniki and scored through Tunisian Hamza Younes who earlier had a penalty kick saved.

Platanias proved true to the tradition of being the jinx team of Panathinaikos, beating the Greens 1-0 at Hania courtesy of a Yaya Banana goal on the 74th minute.

Just like Panathinaikos, fifth-placed AEK was also disappointing, sharing a goalless draw with Panetolikos in Athens, a result that has made life very difficult for coach Jose Morais.

Panionios is joint third with Panathinaikos, three points behind Xanthi, after drawing 1-1 at home with PAS Giannina. PAOK rose to sixth through a late Dimitris Pelkas goal that downed Levadiakos 1-0 away.

In other games Kerkyra drew 1-1 with Atromitos, and Larissa came from behind to score a precious “six-pointer” win over fellow struggling Veria (2-1).

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