Greens go top with tough win

Panathinaikos overtook Olympiakos for top spot in the Super League yesterday, but the Athens soccer club struggled for its home win, 1-0, against lowly Levadiakos. The host’s winning goal came early, in the 11th minute, from central defender Yiannis Goumas. Looking content with its one-goal need, Panathinaikos was threatened by Levadiakos on several occasions. AEK, which had led in the standings for the season’s greater part but now lies third, remained a title contender with a crucial 1-0 away win against Thessaloniki team Iraklis. Striker Nikos Lymberopoulos scored the winner for AEK a minute into the second half. On Saturday, Olympiakos salvaged a 1-1 draw against PAOK. Playing before a capacity crowd of 35,000 in Thessaloniki, PAOK took an early lead when Antonio Gonzalez capitalized on a defensive error in the second minute. Olympiakos leveled in the 22nd minute when the league’s top scorer Darko Kovacevic took advantage of another mix-up in defense to score his 16th goal of the season. Panathinaikos leads the standings with 49 points, one point ahead of Olympiakos. AEK is placed third on 45 points. The top three have each played 21 games, one game less than fourth-placed Aris. A 1-0 loser at lowly Veria on Saturday, Aris trails AEK by 10 points. Olympiakos was also set back by Argentinean midfielder Luciano Galletti’s thigh-muscle injury sustained early in Saturday’s game, which club doctors fear will keep him sidelined for at least a month. If so, Galletti will miss his team’s Champions League Round of 16 return leg against Chelsea in London next week. The Super League’s surprise team, newly promoted Asteras Tripolis, sacked its Brazilian coach Paulo Campos, the club announced yesterday, after being held to a 1-1 home draw by relegation-threatened Apollon Kalamaria. Asteras Tripolis, currently fifth in the league standings, has failed to win in its last seven games. AEK, which sacked its coach Lorenzo Serra Ferrer last week, could be interested in hiring Campos, reports said yesterday. In the round’s other games, it was: Panionios-Ergotelis, 2-1; Xanthi-Larissa, 1-1; and OFI-Atromitos, 0-1.