NEWS

Season ends, playoffs to begin

The last round of games for the regular season of the soccer Super League offered Larissa a European ticket and sports fans as many as 31 goals in eight games yesterday. Champion Olympiakos won 2-0 at bottom-placed Thrasyvoulos, thanks to goals from Matt Derbyshire and Luciano Galletti with a penalty kick. The Argentine topped the scorers’ chart with 14 goals, along with AEK’s Ismael Blanco. Larissa beat Levadiakos 1-0 away, thanks to a Tumer Metin strike, grabbing the fifth spot, which ensures the Thessaly club a place in the playoffs (involving teams placed second to fifth) and a Europa League berth, at least. The other teams to enter the round-robin playoffs are PAOK, Panathinaikos and AEK. PAOK downed relegated Panserraikos 4-1 at home via goals from Vladan Ivic, Ilias Anastasakos, Ibrahima Bakayoko and an own-goal to finish second, while Panathinaikos also beat a side already going down, OFI Crete. The Greens won 3-1, courtesy of goals by Vangelis Mantzios, Lazaros Christodoulopoulos and Silva Cleyton. AEK finished fourth after drawing 1-1 with Ergotelis last night in Crete. Both goals from AEK’s Edinho and Ergotelis’s Michalis Frangoulakis came through direct freekicks and within two minutes of the end of the game, before Ergotelis keeper Grigoris Athanasiou saved a Blanco penalty. The draw for the playoffs, which will determine which of the four teams join Olympiakos in the Champions League, will take place tomorrow, while games start on May 10. PAOK starts the playoffs with three points, Panathinaikos begins with two, AEK has one, while Larissa has no points. In the other games yesterday: Aris came from 2-0 down to beat Panthrakikos 3-2 at home, but was left out of the playoffs, as it finished two points behind Larissa; Xanthi thrashed visiting Iraklis 4-1 and Panionios downed Asteras 4-3 at Tripolis in the evening’s most entertaining match. The final table reads Olympiakos 71, PAOK 63, Panathinaikos 61, AEK 55, Larissa 49, Aris 47, Xanthi 38, Panionios 37, Ergotelis 36, while Iraklis, Panthrakikos and Asteras each have 33, Levadiakos has 32, OFI and Panserraikos 24 and Thrasyvoulos 14. Finally, in Cyprus, APOEL Nicosia won a record 20th title on Saturday.