SPORTS

Own goal gives PAOK clear advantage in play-offs

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Soccer

PAOK is two points away from clinching the top spot of the Super League play-offs after beating Panionios in Athens on Wednesday, while second-placed AEK lost at Panathinaikos.

The 1-0 score has not just been the norm but the rule in this mini-league that determines which Greek team will follow Olympiakos in the summer’s Champions League qualifiers. Wednesday’s fourth round of games was no exception, with both games finishing with this score – only this time the goals were a penalty kick and an own goal...

PAOK capitalized on an early own goal (on the 14th minute) by Spyros Risvanis to beat Panionios at Nea Smyrni, in a game that had more to offer in the first half.

In the second half Panionios and PAOK were visibly tired, as this mini-league with two games per week is not easy to handle in the Greek heat.

Panathinaikos scored its first win in the play-offs downing AEK courtesy of a Sebastian Leto penalty on the 62nd minute, after a Rodrigo Galo handball in the area.

AEK was second-best for most of the game as depleted Panathinaikos held firm in defense and made the most of one of its few chances in the match at the Apostolos Nikolaidis stadium.

The results have lifted PAOK to 11 points, provided it is awarded the three points from the abandoned game with Panathinaikos a week earlier, AEK stayed on six, Panionios is on four and Panathinaikos on two provided it is deducted three points for the abandoned match.

On Sunday Panathinaikos greets Panionios and AEK hosts PAOK.

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