SPORTS

Panathinaikos held to home draw amid loud protests

Panathinaikos drew 1-1 with Atromitos at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday in a game that was overshadowed by protest from the Greens fans against the Super League and Olympiakos in the wake of last week?s controversial derby against the Reds.

The reigning champions, whose title has almost certainly slipped from their grasp, found themselves in the unusual position of being asked by some 30,000 of their fans to perform a lap of honour before the start of the game.

Earlier, about 1,000 Greens fans had staged a protest on their motorcycles outside the stadium. The targets for their anger were the Super League and Olympiakos owner Vangelis Marinakis following PAO?s 2-1 derby defeat last Saturday, which left the Reds 10 points ahead in the title race.

Panathinaikos lost the game in the final minute to a goal that could have been disallowed for offside after having a good goal of its own chalked off and being denied what looked like a certain penalty.

Referee Dimitris Kalopoulos and his two assistants have been banned by the Super League from officiating any more games this season.

The anger of the home fans threatened to spill over several times during the game against Atromitos. The referee had to stop the game three times because of the unfurling of banners containing abusive language or because of fans getting too close to the pitch.

Brazilian midfielder Brito gave Atromitos the lead after 31 minutes but two minutes later, French striker Sydney Govou, who was given a rare start, made it 1-1.

Neither side created many chances in the remainder of the game and the draw certainly suited Atromitos, which is now on 28 points, six clear of the relegation zone.

Panathinaikos has 51 points from 24 games.

Olympiakos Volou moved into third place after a 3-1 win at Kerkyra. The visitors scored all their goals within the first half hour of the game. Ilias Solakis scored two and Maria Breska got the third in Makis Katsavakis?s first game in charge as coach of Olympiakos Volou.

Christos Kalantzis pulled one back for the home side on 50 minutes. Kerkyara have 30 points while Olympiakos Volou have 35.

In Saturday?s other game, Iraklis was held 1-1 at home by a resilient Xanthi. The visitors took the lead in just the 3rd minute through Vlasis Kazakis but had Kostas Fliskas sent of just before the hour mark.

Xanthi looked to have secured all three points but Ricardo Dani deservedly equalised for the dominant home side in the third minute of injury time.

Iraklis and Xanthi both have 29 points.