SPORTS

PAOK beats Olympiakos, edges closer to title

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Soccer

PAOK is closer than ever not only to winning its first league title after 34 years, but also to finishing the league unbeaten, after comprehensively defeating its main rival Olympiakos 3-1 at home on Sunday.

The Thessaloniki giant has opened a nine-point gap from the Reds thanks to two early goals – both in the first 20 minutes – from Adelino Vieirinha and Diego Biseswar, and a late one from Chuba Akpom, at an overflowing with passion and excitement Toumba stadium. Daniel Podence scored a consolation goal three minutes from time.

“The third-minute goal by Vieirinha upended all our plans for the game,” stated Olympiakos coach Pedro Martins.

This time PAOK’s fans and officials behaved themselves, unlike last season’s home matches with Olympiakos and AEK, and greeted their team as the new champion. PAOK needs seven wins (or 21 points in total) from the 10 remaining games to wrest the title away from the Greek capital for the first time since Larissa’s league triumph in 1988.

Olympiakos will now have to focus on finishing second, to earn a ticker to the Champions League qualifiers, as next Sunday it is hosting third-placed AEK. The Yellows have moved five points behind Olympiakos through a 1-0 home win over OFI. They had Marco Livaja to thank for the game’s only goal.

Atromitos is four points behind AEK after downing Levadiakos 1-0 at home. Panathinaikos, in sixth, went down 1-0 at PAS Giannina on Saturday.

Bottom team Apollon Smyrnis scored its first road win upsetting Panionios with a 1-0 score, and Xanthi shared a goalless draw with Lamia.

On Monday Panetolikos greets Larissa and Asteras Tripolis entertains Aris.

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