SPORTS

Glory night for two namesakes

Two Olympiakos clubs, that of Piraeus and the other of Volos, had major reason to celebrate on April 17, at the end of soccer?s regular season.

Olympiakos Piraeus thrashed relegated Larissa 6-0 at home and held its title party at the Karaiskakis Stadium to enjoy what had been confirmed from mid-March: Its 38th league title, with a margin of 13 points from second-placed Panathinaikos.

Goals from Rafik Djebbour, Olof Mellberg, Marko Pantelic, Yiannis Fetfatzidis and two by David Fuster sealed Olympiakos?s triumphant season on the night when captain Antonis Nikopolidis put an end to his illustrious career by lifting one more championship trophy.

The other Olympiakos, that of Volos, secured its entry to the Super League playoffs for the first time, which means it has a great chance of playing European soccer next season. The team owned by controversial Achilleas Beos (whom a prosecutor filed charges against last week for allegedly applying pressure on referees) defeated nine-man Panathinaikos 3-2.

The evening?s other results were AEK 0 Iraklis 0; Asteras Tripolis 3 Panionios 1; Atromitos 0 Kavala 0; PAOK 2 Kerkyra 0; Panserraikos 0 Ergotelis 4 and Xanthi 1 Aris 2.

Olympiakos is going straight to the group stage of next season?s Champions League.

Teams from the second to the fifth spot will contest the playoffs that lead to a place on the Champions League qualifiers and two places in the Europa League. Another Europa League spot is granted to the winner of the Cup final, on April 30, to be contested by AEK and Atromitos.

Panathinaikos will go into the playoffs next month with three points, AEK with one and PAOK with Olympiakos Volou without a point.

Asteras Tripolis, Larissa and Panserraikos are relegated to the second division.