SPORTS

AEK thrashes PAOK to go top in the playoffs

AEK thrashed PAOK 3-0 in Athens to rise to the top of the Super League playoff mini-table on May 15, while Olympiakos Volou scored its first win in the post-season, beating Panathinaikos 2-1 at home.

With the first half of the playoffs completed, AEK has eight points, PAOK is second with six, Panathinaikos follows with four and Olympiakos Volou has three.

AEK made the most of its set pieces and deserved an even greater score against a toothless PAOK in a match played at the Olympic Stadium behind closed doors due to AEK fan violence in the Greek Cup final on April 30.

The absence of Adelino Vieirinha, PAOK’s best player in the first two rounds of the playoffs, proved costly for the Thessaloniki side.

Euro-2004 hero Traianos Dellas gave AEK a first-half lead as he headed the ball in from a tight angle at the 21st minute after a Michel freekick.

Senegal international Papa Bouba Diop doubled the host’s lead two minutes into the second half, heading the ball in from a Nacho Scocco freekick.

It was Diop again who made it 3-0 at the 68th minute to seal victory, this time after another header by Dellas.

At Volos, local Olympiakos was by far the better team in the first half and struck the woodwork twice, through Juan Martin and Mario Breska in the first half hour, but Sebastian Leto capitalized on a Breska error in defense to score for Panathinaikos at the 33rd minute.

Yet six minutes into the second half Ilias Solakis met a Zoltan Szelezi cross from the right with his head to equalize for Olympiakos Volou.

Martin headed Olympiakos Volou’s winner at the 63rd minute from a Breska freekick, although television replays showed the scorer was in an offside position.

Panathinaikos fielded a depleted side and deservedly suffered its third loss this season to Olympiakos Volou, who has fresh hopes of avoiding the last spot in the playoffs.

The two sides are meeting again on May 18 in Athens, when PAOK entertains AEK at Thessaloniki.