SPORTS

AEK crowned champion, pending the appeals committee decision

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Soccer

AEK celebrated on Sunday winning its first league title in 24 years, and 12th overall, as it has obtained an eight-point lead on top of the Super League with two games left to play, although the appeals committee of the federation is yet to issue its verdict on the PAOK vs AEK game that was abandoned in March.

In front of some 60,000 fans at the Olympic Stadium of Athens, AEK had an easy task against Levadiakos and won 2-0 through two goals by Tasos Bakasetas, the first from the penalty spot.

The match was followed by a lap of honor by the AEK players who enjoyed what amounted to a title fiesta even though the decision on the game against PAOK is still pending.

The Yellows were the most consistent of the title rivals throughout the season, as Olympiakos may have had the best roster and PAOK was solid at home and appeared to want it more than everyone else, but AEK made the most of the erratic performance of the Reds since February and of PAOK away from home, to build a lead that gave it a deserved league triumph, the first in a generation.

AEK is still in the running for a double, as on May 12 it will face PAOK in the Greek Cup final that will take place at the Olympic Stadium.

PAOK came from 1-0 down to beat Xanthi 2-1 behind closed doors at Toumba, as the Diego Biseswar and Efthymis Koulouris goals overturned Xanthi’s lead through Erik Jendrisek.

Olympiakos dropped four points behind PAOK and is likely to miss out on a Champions League qualifiers spot, as it surprisingly lost 1-0 at Apollon Smyrnis. Christos Albanis scored 30 seconds into the game to ensure Apollon stayed up thanks to an impressive 13 points in the last five games – although on Sunday Olympiakos should have been given two clear penalties.

Fourth-placed Atromitos had Frenchman Nicolas Diguiny score a hat-trick in its 4-1 home win over relegated Platanias Hanion to confirm it will enter the Europa League qualifiers this summer.

Asteras Tripolis beat Kerkyra 3-1 on Corfu and has caught up with Xanthi on fifth, the last place that leads to Europe. Kerkyra is deep in relegation trouble staying five points behind Lamia that went down 1-0 at Panetolikos. Larissa drew 0-0 at PAS Giannina and is mathematically staying up.

Finally Panathinaikos scored its second away win this season, beating Panionios 3-0 at Nea Smyrni and avenging its sole home loss so far. Luciano Neves has now fully recovered from this serious injury, scoring the first goal and setting up Robin Lod’s second. Guillermo Molins added the third.

Panathinaikos is now four points behind the fifth positions in joint seventh, but if the three points deducted for debts to former player Jens Wemmer are returned, the Greens will be within one point from Asteras and Xanthi.

The Greens were also crowned champions in the Under-15 championship beating PAOK in Saturday's final.

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