SPORTS

El-Arabi all but seals title for Olympiakos

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Soccer

The restart of the Super League with the new-look playoffs, after soccer's three-month freeze, saw Olympiakos all but clinching the title with a 1-0 win at champion PAOK on Sunday.

Having completed its regular season before the lockdown started in March, the Super League only had the playoffs and the playouts to get over with for the season to end. The restart of the games, even without any fans at the stands, was quite satisfactory, with some very competitive games and adequate action. After all Greece has been more used to playing behind closed doors than other countries.

The big game of the weekend pitted leader Olympiakos with second-placed PAOK in Thessaloniki. The match was decided by a 23rd-minute tap-in by Youssef El-Arabi after a Mathieu Valbuena cross from the right.

This has placed Olympiakos 17 points ahead of PAOK with nine playoff rounds of games left in the round-robin tournament.

El-Arabi has reached 18 goals in the league so far and is arguably he who has made the difference between Olympiakos and PAOk this season.

After the game some PAOK fans gathered outside the Toumba stadium and protested against the players and manager Abel Ferreira.

Later on Sunday AEK and Panathinaikos shared a 1-1 draw at the Athens derby.

Federico Macheda opened the score for Panathinaikos on the 65th and 10 minutes later Marko Livaja equalized for the host.

Before kick-off both sets of players went down on one knee in honor of George Floyd, the African American who was allegedly victim of police violence in the US.

In the other match for the playoffs, Aris came from behind to beat OFI 3-1 at home on Saturday.

Olympiakos is on 69 points,  PAOK and AEK are on 52, Panathinaikos has 45, Aris 37 and OFI 34.

As for the playouts, Asteras Tripolis and Panionios scored important wins, with the former downing Larissa 2-1 away and the latter defeating visiting Volos 1-0 in Nea Smyrni retaining its slim chances for survival alive.

On Monday Lamia greets Panetolikos, while the match between Xanthi and Atromitos has been postponed due to a coronavirus outbreak at Xanthi.

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