Ninis gifts Nioplias first PAO win

The new coach of Panathinaikos, Nikos Nioplias, enjoyed his first win on the Greens’ bench as both his team and Olympiakos continued their pursuit of the soccer Super League title last weekend, with victories over lowly opposition. Leader Olympiakos maintained its one-point advantage yesterday thanks to a 3-0 home win over bottom side Panthrakikos. The Reds opened the score with Argentine Luciano Galletti, their top scorer last year, before Brazilian midfielder Dudu Cearense added two more goals. Panathinaikos defeated host Iraklis 1-0 in Thessaloniki courtesy of a superb strike by Greece midfielder Sotiris Ninis, 17 minutes from time. Ninis has for years excelled in the Under-19 and Under-21 national teams, which had been coached by Nioplias before he took over at Panathinaikos last Tuesday after Henk ten Cate’s dismissal. After the game, there were clashes between Iraklis supporters and the stadium stewards. PAOK returned from Kavala with a goalless draw to remain third, ahead of Panionios who drew 2-2 at Larissa, AEK, who struggled to beat visiting Levadiakos 3-2, and Ergotelis who lost 1-0 at PAS Yiannina. The latter also scored their first win with their new coach, Thymios Georgoulis. Atromitos beat Xanthi to move out of the relegation zone but the Thrace club’s coach, Yiannis Matzourakis accused Atromitos officials for an attack he allegedly suffered in the tunnel to the dressing rooms. Aris suffered a 1-0 defeat to Asteras Tripolis in Thessaloniki on Saturday, with many home fans jeering at the Aris players and asking them to leave the club immediately. Aris recently changed its manager, sacking Mazinho and hiring former Valencia and Inter coach Hector Raul Cuper. Olympiakos leads the standings on 36 points, followed by Panathinaikos with 35. PAOK, in third, has 25, Panionios is now fourth with 22, AEK and Ergotelis have 21 and Asteras Tripolis is seventh with 20. Aris and Kavala follow, each with 19 points.

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