SPORTS

AEK tops playoff mini-table

A first-half penalty by Leonardo gave AEK all three points in its opening game for the playoffs against Olympiakos Volou in Athens on May 8, sending the cup winner to the top of the mini-table.

Olympiakos Volou was not a patch on the team that managed to finish fifth on the table as it produced very little at the AEK end.

The hosts, on the other hand, were boosted by their cup final victory a week earlier but a number of their fans were clearly put off attending the game after the riots that stained the cup showpiece on April 30.

They did get something to cheer about, though, in the 38th minute, when Brazilian striker Leonardo earned himself a penalty and scored from the spot.

The second half went by without major chances as AEK sat on its lead and Olympiakos Volou seemed unable to threaten the home defense.

The result, combined with PAOK’s 2-1 win over Panathinaikos, means that AEK is now top of the mini-table, taking pole position in the race for a Champions League spot. AEK has four points, Panathinaikos and PAOK have three and Olympiakos Volou is still on zero.

On May 9 AEK received a three-match penalty after its fans rioted at the cup final, which means that its games against PAOK and Panathinaikos at home as well as one more game next season will be behind closed doors. It will also have to pay a fine of 292,000 euros.

Cup finalist Atromitos will also have to play two games behind closed doors next season. Its fine came to 60,000 euros.