Panathinaikos stretches winning streak to 7 games

Nikos Lymberopoulos struck twice in two minutes yesterday to give Panathinaikos a 2-0 revenge victory at Proodeftiki. The win, which keeps the Athens club on top of the Greek first division soccer league, was extra sweet after Proodeftiki had stunned Panathinaikos fans earlier this season with a shock 1-0 away win. Following its seventh victory in a row this season, Panathinaikos stays two points ahead of arch-rival Olympiakos Piraeus. With 17 games played, Panathinaikos has 38 points and Olympiakos 36. After last week’s hat trick, Stelios Yiannakopoulos struck again Saturday, giving Olympiakos a 1-0 home victory over OFI. Giorgos Georgiadis’s 10th minute goal was all that PAOK Thessaloniki needed to beat Xanthi 1-0 at home Saturday to retain third place in the 16-team standings with 33 points, one ahead of AEK Athens. With goals from Vassilis Lakis and Demis Nikolaidis, AEK downed Ioannina 2-0 away to stay in fourth place. AEK traveled to Ioannina without Greek international Vassilis Tsartas, who is still in training. The 30-year-old midfielder had walked out on the team last month after a clash with AEK’s former owner Makis Psomiadis, who refused to meet unpaid wages. Tsartas re-joined AEK on Thursday only after Psomiadis had departed and a new executive board was formed. In other games yesterday it was: Iraklis 1, Panachaiki 1; Panionios 1, Aris 0; and Aegaleo 0, Ionikos 0. On Saturday, Akratitos played to an entertaining 3-3 tie with Kallithea. Panathinaikos fought hard from kickoff, squandering an early opportunity when a header by Lymberopoulos scraped goalie Thanassis Kois’s right post in the 10th minute. Earlier, Kois stopped a curling right foot freekick by Panathinaikos captain Angelos Basinas. In the 72nd, Giorgos Seitaridis centered from the right, and a close-range header from Lymberopoulos opened the scoring. Lymberopoulos sealed Panathinaikos’s victory almost immediately afterward. Receiving a pass from Giorgos Karagounis in the 74th, Lymberopoulos dribbled past Costas Kallimanis and fired a shot from the edge of the area into Kois’s upper right corner. Proodeftiki never seriously threatened Panathinaikos keeper Antonis Nikopolidis. In the 22nd, Lymberopoulos appeared to foul Giorgos Poulopoulos in the Panathinaikos area, but no penalty was given. On Saturday, Olympiakos’s goalkeeper Dimitris Eleftheropoulos denied OFI in the 25th and 26th with two excellent saves. Five minutes later, OFI’s defender Ilias Kotsios stole the ball from Lambros Houtos just as the Olympiakos forward looked set to test keeper Arian Beqaj. In the 72nd, Predrag Djordjevic centered from the left and Yiannakopoulos outjumped Costas Kiassos to lift his season tally to 11 goals. Yiannakopoulos now moves to the top of the first-division scorers this season, sharing the honor with PAOK’s Georgiadis. (AP)