Play resumes, trouble spreads

The Greek Super League resumed yesterday after a two-week suspension prompted by fatal rioting between Olympiakos and Panathinaikos fans that led to one death, but clashes – involving fans, players and officials – managed to overshadow the round of play. Front-runner and defending champion Olympiakos, held to a scoreless draw at Larissa, saw its lead reduced from eight points to six with three rounds of play remaining. AEK solidified its grip on second place and a berth for next season’s pre-group qualifiers in the Champions League with a 5-2 win over Aegaleo. AEK, now six points ahead of Panathinaikos, its nearest rival, rebounded from a 1-0 deficit for a convincing win with a hat trick from striker Nikos Lymberopoulos. Third-placed Panathinaikos was held to a 1-1 draw at Apollon Kalamaria. In one of several nasty incidents reported, Panathinaikos striker Dimitris Papadopoulos was sent off in the 58th minute after striking the host’s Alban Bushi, who apparently provoked the incident by spitting at Papadopoulos. Olympiakos’s Rivaldo was shown the red card for hitting Larissa’s Giorgos Galitsios. In a second-division game, Messiniakos fans attacked their team’s coach after a 4-2 loss against Kallithea. In the third division, a game between Panaitolikos and Ilioupoli was marred by wild rioting on the pitch involving players, fans and officials. In the other Super League games, it was: Atromitos-Panionios, 0-1; Kerkyra-Iraklis, 0-0; OFI-Ionikos, 2-1; and PAOK-Xanthi, 1-0. The round’s other game between Aris and Ergotelis was postponed after Aris defied a government ban and distributed tickets to organized fans. The Sports Ministry issued the ban on organized fan clubs as part of measures to curb violence. The match was rescheduled for Wednesday.

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