Big two stumble into action

Panathinaikos and Olympiakos are used to having it all their own way in Greek soccer but the opening round of the Super League season brought disappointment for both teams as the Greens were held 1-1 at home by Xanthi on Friday and the Reds lost 2-1 to Iraklis in Thessaloniki on Saturday. Champion Panathinaikos looked on course for a win after striker Antonis Petropoulos gave it an early lead. But Xanthi’s English forward Nathan Ellington leveled in the second half. Cash-strapped Iraklis beat Olympiakos despite going 1-0 down after an hour thanks to a curling shot from Kostas Mitroglou. Iraklis scored twice in the last 10 minutes, a penalty from Bogdan Mara and a cool finish from young striker Apostolos Vellios, to deny Reds coach Ernesto Valverde a successful return to Greek soccer. In the weekend’s other games, it was: Panionios 0 – Olympiakos Volou 1, Larissa 1 – Atromitos 0, PAOK 3 – Panserraikos 2, Ergotelis 0 – Asteras Tripolis 1, Kerkyra 2 – AEK 2 and Kavala 0 – Aris 1.