NEWS

Derby draw leaves leaders smiling

League leaders Olympiakos and second-placed PAOK, who both notched up wins this weekend, were the main beneficiaries of yet another disappointing derby yesterday, which saw Panathinaikos and AEK draw 0-0 at the Olympic Stadium in Athens. Built up as the perfect clash between two of Greek soccer’s heavyweights to get the second-half of the season under way, the match between Panathinaikos and AEK failed to offer any real entertainment. Panathinaikos will be the more disappointed of the two as it had the best chances of the game, both falling to Brazilian midfielder Gilberto Silva. In almost identical passages of play, the Brazil captain managed to shoot wide in the first half and then over the bar in the second half when the ball was pulled back to him inside the penalty box. The draw leaves Panathinaikos at 30 points after 16 games – nine behind Olympiakos – and its dreams of breaking the Piraeus club’s stranglehold on the league in serious doubt. AEK is fourth with 25 points. Olympiakos also failed to produce any play befitting its leading position at Asteras Tripolis on Saturday but came away with a 1-0 win thanks to a first-half penalty scored by Luciano Galletti. The Reds survived a second-half onslaught by the home side to hold on to the three points. Also on Saturday, mid-table Xanthi and Panionios fought out a 0-0 draw while Panthrakikos leapfrogged Ergotelis thanks to a 1-0 win over the Cretan side. PAOK maintained its title challenge with a 2-0 home win over OFI Crete on Sunday. Zlatan Muslimovic and Vladan Ivic got the goals in the first-half. The win keeps PAOK in second on 33 points. On Sunday, Levadiakos beat Aris 2-0 and Thrasyvoulos was held to a 0-0 draw by Larissa. Panserraikos’s game against Iraklis was called off because the pitch was covered by snow. The game is scheduled to take place today.