SOCCER

PAOK joins Aris in second, AEK saves a point

paok-joins-aris-in-second-aek-saves-a-point

PAOK regained the Thessaloniki bragging rights after defeating local rival Aris away on Wednesday, while AEK salvaged a point in the Athens derby scoring in injury time against Panathinaikos.

The latest twist in the bitter rivalry between Aris and PAOK had the latter win 1-0 at the Kleanthis Vikelidis Stadium through an early Stefan Schwab goal. Th result meant that PAOK has caught up with its rival at the second spot of the table on 57 points.

That is a massive 22 points behind crowned back-to-back champion Olympiakos, that eased past visiting Asteras Tripolis with a 1-0 result via a Sokratis Papastathopoulos header.

The Athens derby at the Olympic Stadium ended with a 1-1 score, as Panathinaikos took a first-half lead through Fotis Ioannidis, but once again surrendered it, with Levi Garcia snatching a 92-minute equalizer for AEK to repeat his feat a few weeks earlier in the regular season, when the two teams had also drawn 1-1.

Olympiakos is now on 79 points, Aris and PAOK have 57, AEK reached 55, Panathinaikos is on 50 and Asteras stayed on 44.

Besides Olympiakos, only the second- and third-placed teams will be guaranteed a place in Europe next season, with the fourth team also getting a Conference League ticket unless PAS Giannina springs a surprise in the Greek Cup.