PAO beats AEK, takes over at top

Panathinaikos hit top spot in Greek soccer’s first division for the first time in two-and-a-half-years last night with a 2-1 win at home over AEK, the league’s previous front-runner, in a toughly fought contest that produced fiery action and two red cards, one for each side. For AEK, yesterday’s defeat was the second in a row following an unblemished start to the season with six consecutive victories. Panathinaikos, which has won just one league title over the past 11 years, in the 2003-2004 season, leads the standings with 19 points from eight games, one point ahead of AEK. On Saturday, defending champion Olympiakos suffered a 1-0 defeat at newly promoted Asteras Tripoli, to slip to fourth place with 15 points. Thessaloniki club Aris moved up to third spot, a point ahead of Olympiakos, courtesy of a 2-1 away win against Atromitos. Aris ended the game with nine players and Atromitos with 10. In the round’s other games, it was: Iraklis-Larissa, 1-1; OFI-Levadiakos, 1-2; Panionios-Xanthi, 3-2; PAOK-Ergotelis, 1-0; Veria-Apollon Kalamaria, 0-2.