SPORTS

AEK and Olympiakos lose, PAOK closes in on top

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Soccer

None of the top four teams in the Greek Super League won this weekend, as AEK and Olympiakos suffered defeats a few days after their European games, PAOK conceded a late equalizer, while Panionios... was not in action, as it is visiting Lamia on Monday.

The results have cut AEK’s lead on top to one point from second-placed PAOK, but if Panionios wins on Monday it will go top on its own. If anything the league this year has obtained an unpredictability that Greek fans had not seen since the 1980s.

A week after triumphing over Olympiakos at home, AEK presented a line-up with many second-pick players and predictably succumbed at Asteras Tripolis with a 2-0 score on Sunday, goals coming from Juan Munafo and Michalis Manias. This was Asteras’s first win of the season.

AEK is on 13 points and PAOK on 12 after missing a great chance for a win at struggling Larissa on Saturday. Leo Matos gave PAOK a second-half lead, but right after the Thessaloniki team was left with 10 men due to a red card shown to Efthymis Koulouris, Sandi Krizman equalized for the host (1-1).

Olympiakos’s slump continued on the domestic debut of Takis Lemonis on its bench, as the champions went down 1-0 to Atromitos at home to the jeering of their supporters. Kyriakos Kivrakidis headed the ball home on the hour mark to lift the Peristeri team to fourth at the table. Olympiakos has dropped to seventh.

Levadiakos is joint fourth as it came from behind to beat Apollon Smyrnis 2-1 on Sunday, while Xanthi has climbed to sixth after beating Kerkyra 2-0 on Corfu. Panetolikos is joint seventh thrashing Platanias 3-0 at Hania on Saturday.

Panathinaikos scored its second win of the season, downing PAS Giannina 2-0 on Saturday in the near-full Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium in Athens. In this first home game for the Greens since the announcement of owner Yiannis Alafouzos’s planned departure plunged the club into a serious financial crisis, the fans made their presence felt with their sheer number, their passion and unwavering support, and the players responded with a strong start to the game that brought an own goal by Alexis Michail and a spectacular free-kick by Guillermo Molins.

The Greens have risen to ninth, and have started the search for a solution to their financial conundrum led by new chairman Vassilis Constantinou, the veteran goalkeeper whose saves had sent Panathinaikos to the Champions Cup Final at Wembley in 1971.

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