NEWS

Xanthi safe; Olympiakos second

Xanthi ensured its place in the Super League last night, as Olympiakos held on to second place, giving it an advantage going into the Champions League playoffs, although the Reds’ game against Aris was marred by violence off the pitch. At the bottom end of the table, it was a two-way battle between Xanthi and Levadiakos to avoid being the third team to be relegated along with Panthrakikos and PAS Giannina. Xanthi went into its game against Iraklis on 32 points (one more than Levadiakos) and needing a win to guarantee survival. The visitors won 4-2 but after taking an early 2-0 lead, Iraklis pegged them back to 2-2. Late goals from Mauro Poi and Nathan Ellington sealed the win for Xanthi. Levadiakos also managed a 2-1 win at Larissa but it was not enough to stay in the top division. Olympiakos got the win it needed to stay in second. The Reds beat fifth-placed Aris 2-1 but the result was overshadowed by a clash between Olympiakos supporters and riot police outside the Karaiskaki Stadium. Police used tear gas, clouds of which wafted into the stadium and forced the game to be held up for 10 minutes. It was reported that one supporter was taken to the hospital suffering from burns. A policeman was also injured. Olympiakos finished the regular season on 64 points, two ahead of PAOK, which thrashed Ergotelis 4-1. AEK finished in fourth on 53 points after beating Asteras Tripolis 2-0. Its game at the Olympic Stadium was also held up when supporters spilled onto the running track around the pitch after clashes with riot police in the stands. In the playoffs, where Aris, AEK, PAOK and Olympiakos will play each other home and away, Aris will start with zero points, AEK will have one point, PAOK three and Olympiakos four. The team that finishes top of this mini-league will go into the Champions League qualifying stages. Champion Panathinaikos ended the season on 70 points after beating already relegated PAS Giannina 1-0.