Front runner Olympiakos extends lead

Olympiakos returned from the Christmas break to confirm its position at the top of the Greek first division, beating Ioannina 2-1 at home on Sunday. The defending champion added a point to its lead and is now three clear of Panathinaikos. The Greek archrivals meet next week. Yugoslav striker Predrag Djordjevic gained and converted a penalty and defender Paraskevas Antzas added another. An own goal from Thanassis Kostoulas made the final 2-1. Olympiakos leads the 16-team standings with 29 points after 13 rounds. Panathinaikos beat OFI 2-0 in Crete and moved into second place. OFI defender Pavlos Adamos failed to stop a cross from Giorgos Karagounis, sending the ball into his team’s goal in the 23rd. Karagounis struck five minutes later, beating keeper Arian Beqaj after a solo run. PAOK dashed hopes of a comeback in the new year after leading the table for two weeks last year. The Thessaloniki side lost 2-0 to Panionios on Saturday and slipped from second to third place – five points behind Olympiakos. In other results Sunday, it was: Aris 1, AEK 1; Iraklis 3, Ionikos 2; Kallithea 0, Xanthi 1; Panachaiki 1, Proodeftiki 1. Aegaleo beat Akratitos 1-0 in Saturday. Olympiakos challenged the defensive Ioannina from the kickoff, but the visitors lasted 28 minutes before Djordjevic hit the target from the penalty spot. In the 43rd, Dimitris Eleftheropoulos denied Ioannina the equalizer with a fingertip save to a shot by Thomas Kyparissis. Olympiakos made it 2-0 in the 46th with Antzas’s first goal of the season. The defender gained the ball after a shot from Djordjevic deflected off a Ioannina player. Thanassis Kostoulas gave the visitors hope, heading in an own goal in the 66th. And Ioannina came close to an upset seconds before the final whistle with a shot by Anestis Anastassiadis. Eleftheropoulos preserved the win with a decisive save. (AP)

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