Fan rioting overshadows soccer

The most explosive soccer weekend of the season saw riots in Thessaloniki, Iraklion and Corfu, pushing some wonderful sporting action out of the spotlight. Extensive clashes between PAOK fans and the police in Thessaloniki yesterday before the goalless match with Olympiakos resulted in injuries to at least three officers and three fans, severe damage to cars and other property as well as several arrests. PAOK fans also attacked Greece goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis at the end of the game – which also saw two red cards, one for each side. Nikopolidis appeared to kick one of the supporters. The game’s result allowed Panathinaikos to return to the second spot, via its 3-0 win over visiting Larissa on Saturday, with goals by Dimitris Salpigidis, Gilberto Silva and Lazaros Christodoulopoulos. AEK thrashed Panserraikos 5-1 away, with all goals coming in the first half. Ismael Blanco and Rafik Djebbour scored two each. Levadiakos scored the win of the weekend, downing OFI 2-0 in Crete to move six points away from the relegation zone, while pushing the Iraklion side deeper into trouble. OFI is likely to get relegated for the first time after 35 consecutive years in the top flight. This prompted the team’s irate fans to attack officials and players, ripping out hundreds of seats and setting fire to trash bins in the Cretan city. In the other games, it was: Iraklis 2, Panionios 1; Asteras Tripolis 4, Aris 0; Thrasyvoulos 1, Ergotelis 3 and Xanthi 1, Panthrakikos 0, while, in the second division, fans of Kerkyra and PAS Yiannina clashed inside the ground in Corfu after the Ioannina side equalized 2-2 in the end. After 25 games, Olympiakos leads the table with 59 points, nine more than Panathinaikos and PAOK. AEK reached 47 and Larissa remained at 38. In the drop zone, Panserraikos has 22, OFI 20 and relegated Thrasyvoulos has 13.

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