SPORTS

Panionios stuns Olympiakos to cut further the distance from the top

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Soccer

Could rank outsider Panionios dispute Olympiakos’s supremacy in the Super League? On Sunday it proved it can, as it defeated the champion 1-0 in Piraeus to cut the distance from the top to seven points with eight games left to play.

The Nea Smyrni club won in Piraeus for the first time in 36 years courtesy of a goal by Giorgos Massouras – just 49 seconds into the game – that the hosts were unable to respond to. Olympiakos dominated the game, hit the woodwork twice, but eventually Panionios has not just opened its gap from the third place to four points, it has also come closer than expected to the top.

Olympiakos’s players and especially manager Paulo Bento were booed off the Karaiskakis pitch. This was the second straight league loss for the champion.

In fact the next few weeks will be particularly tough for the Reds as they will have to carve out a result at Peristeri when they visit Atromitos for the Greek Cup quarterfinals on Thursday after a goalless first leg in Piraeus, then it is PAOK at Toumba for the league and Besiktas at home for the Europa League, Atromitos at home for the league, Besiktas away and the derby of Eternal Rivals against Panathinaikos away, all within 17 days...

Iraklis held PAOK to a 1-1 draw at the Thessaloniki derby that saw Aleksandar Prijovic give PAOK the lead on the 19th minute and youngster Michalis Bastakos earn the Blues a precious point, though they have returned to the relegation zone. Still PAOK is now 11 points off the pace, one less than last weekend.

A spectacular swerving shot outside the area by Thodoris Vassilakakis gave Xanthi a 1-0 home win over Panathinaikos on Saturday to complete the Thracians’ double over the Greens this year, after the 2-1 win in Athens that was also decided by a Vassilakakis volley.

AEK was superior to Larissa and won 3-0 in Athens on Sunday via goals by Tomas Pekhart, Dmitro Chygrynskiy and Hugo Almeida to stay joint fifth along with Xanthi, two points behind fourth Panathinaikos. Teams to finish from the second to the fifth spot enter the play-offs at the end of the regular season.

Levadiakos came from behind to score a vital home win over PAS Giannina (2-1) and climb out of the drop zone.

In other games on Saturday Kerkyra shared a goalless draw with Panetolikos and Platanias consolidated its seventh position downing Asteras Tripolis 3-0 at Hania.

On Monday Veria meets Atromitos.

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