Panathinaikos adds to streak

Three days after gaining a berth in the quarterfinals of the UEFA Cup, Panathinaikos enjoyed its 10th consecutive league victory yesterday by beating Panachaiki 2-0 at home. Goals from Pantelis Constantinidis and Polish international Emmanuel Olisadebe kept the Athens club at the top of the first division with 50 points from 21 games. Defending league champions Olympiakos defeated Proodeftiki 3-1 away with two goals in five minutes from substitute Peter Oforiquaye. Midfielder Alberto Castillo also scored. Olympiakos stays in second place, two points behind Panathinaikos. In the round’s major upset, PAOK was held to a 1-1 home draw against struggling Akratitos. The draw means the Thessaloniki club drops to fourth place with 40 points, one behind AEK Athens. AEK moved up to third place after beating OFI 3-1 at home, thanks to two goals from Yugoslav striker Ilja Ivic and one from Vassilis Lakis. In another game yesterday, Ionikos vs Kallithea, both close to the relegation zone, drew 1-1. On Saturday, Panionios Athens beat struggling Ioannina 2-1 away to stay in fifth place with 40 points, but is behind PAOK on goal difference. Also on Saturday, Iraklis enjoyed a 2-1 home victory over Aegaleo and Aris defeated Xanthi 2-0 away. After a tough game against Belgium’s Anderlecht on Thursday, Panathinaikos’s Uruguayan Coach Sergio Markarian used the match against last-placed, debt-ridden Panachaiki to rest some regular starters. Four key players, including the team’s top scorer Nikos Lymberopoulos, were also suspended due to yellow cards picked up in previous matches. With a 1-5-15 record, Panachaiki remains at the bottom of the 16-team standings with only eight points. Panathinaikos controlled play throughout the game. It took an early lead with a close-range shot from Constantinidis off a pass from Michalis Constantinou in the fifth minute. Olisadebe made it 2-0 off a center from Danish midfielder Jan Michaelsen in the 20th. Panachaiki, which has scored only seven goals this season, had two opportunities in the last 10 minutes of the match but both were denied by goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis. Needing victory against Proodeftiki to stay close to league leader Panathinaikos, Olympiakos charged forward from kickoff, taking the lead through Castillo in the 19th. The Uruguayan midfielder received a deep pass and dribbled past one defender before beating goalie Thanassis Kois. In the 36th, Olympiakos’s keeper Fotis Katergiannakis maintained his team’s lead by saving a powerful header from Costas Angelopoulos. Ghanaian striker Oforiquaye, who came in for Alexis Alexandris in the 62nd, increased Olympiakos’s lead to 2-0 in the 79th, off a pass from Giorgos Anatolakis. But Alecos Tatsis narrowed the difference in the 82nd, before Oforiquaye grabbed his second goal a minute later to make the final score 3-1. (AP)

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