SPORTS

Olympiakos stays on top as it welcomes Garcia and Mirallas

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

Everton striker Kevin Mirallas arrived in Athens to return to Olympiakos on loan after 5.5 years.

TAGS: Soccer

Olympiakos defeated Larissa away on Sunday while welcoming new coach Oscar Garcia and Belgian striker Kevin Mirallas, who aspire to lead the Reds to their eighth consecutive league title. There were also comfortable wins for AEK and PAOK, as the Super League returned to action after the Christmas break.

Second-half strikes by Marko Marin, Karim Ansarifard and Uros Djurdjevic gave the champion a 3-0 win at Larissa under the gaze of new coach Garcia, and with caretaker Christos Kontis on the bench.

One hour after the final whistle Everton striker Mirallas landed at the Athens airport, to a rapturous welcome by hundreds of Olympiakos fans as the winger is returning to the Piraeus club after five-and-a-half years: He has agreed to a six-month loan that could be followed by a permanent move in the coming summer.

Olympiakos is one point ahead of AEK and PAOK who were emphatic enough on Saturday: PAOK trounced declining Levadiakos 5-0 at Toumba, through braces by Djalma Campos and Aleksandar Prijovic and a goal by Leo Matos, while AEK returned from Agrinio with a 4-1 victory over Panetolikos, goals coming from Tasos Bakasetas, Lazaros Christodoulopoulos, Sergio Araujo and Helder Lopes. Vlad Morar scored Panetolikos’s consolation.

Panathinaikos needed two controversial penalties to beat visiting Platanias 2-0 and return to winning ways after two months. Lucas Villafanies tucked both second-half spot kicks away, while Platanias finished the game with 10 men. The result has given the Greens some clean air to breathe in their suffocating financial conditions, taking them up to the ninth spot.

In other weekend games, Panionios came from behind to beat visiting Kerkyra 3-1 in Athens, Xanthi climbed to seventh beating host Lamia 1-0 and PAS Giannina shared a goalless draw with Asteras Tripolis.

On Monday Apollon Smyrnis hosts Atromitos Peristeriou.

Online