Central defender nets three goals in one half


TAGS: Soccer

How often do you see a central defender score a hat-trick? And all three goals come in the first half?

Greek top-flight fans had to wait for 59 years, since the official start of the first division, to witness the first such feat, achieved by Bosnian international Ognjen Vranjes in AEK’s 4-0 win over Xanthi on Sunday that kept the Yellows two points behind leader PAOK. This was in a Super League weekend dominated by wins for the favorites and a “six-point” triumph for struggling Kerkyra.

Three days after its Europa League draw with Dynamo Kiev, and four before the second leg in Ukraine, AEK showed in excellent form to beat Xanthi with four first-half goals, the final one coming from Tasos Bakasetas.

However PAOK remained on top courtesy of its 2-0 win at Lamia on Saturday by way of second-half strikes by Dimitris Pelkas and Mauricio. The Thessaloniki club is on 52 points from 22 games, AEK has 50 and Olympiakos is a distant third on 43.

The Reds put an end to their five-game non-winning streak in league and cup downing Panionios 1-0 at home on Sunday via a Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe goal. Next week Olympiakos visits PAOK.

Dimitris Hatziisaias scored in injury time to give Atromitos a precious 1-0 victory at Asteras Tripolis on Saturday and keep the Peristeri club one point behind Olympiakos, in fourth.

Yet the win of the weekend belongs to Kerkyra. The Corfu team leapfrogged over Apollon Smyrnis beating it 2-0 at home on Saturday to reach up to 18 points. The relegation zone contains Apollon on 16 and Platanias on 10, after the Cretan team lost 3-0 at home to PAS Yiannina.

Panetolikos scored twice from the penalty spot to beat 10-man Levadiakos 2-1 away and rise to ninth.

On Monday Larissa hosts Panathinaikos.