Struggling Ionikos retained its place in Greece’s first division yesterday after surviving a challenge from second-division team Apollon Kalamarias in an inter-league playoff match played on neutral territory in Volos. In a regulation introduced this season, the top division team placed third from last meets the second division’s third-placed side for a first-division berth. Ioannina and Panachaiki, placed last and second-to-last respectively, were relegated automatically, while Halkidona and Paniliakos, which ended in the lower league’s top two places, were promoted. In yesterday’s inter-league playoff, lowly Ionikos, which won 2-1 to maintain its first division place for the 10th consecutive season, opened the scoring in the 47th minute. Apollon Kalamarias equalized in the 77th minute but Ionikos snatched the game’s winning goal a minute later.