PAO downs AEK to climb to top five

Olympiakos thrashed OFI 4-0 on Crete on Saturday and is just two points away from clinching the Super League title mathematically, but the winner of the weekend was Panathinaikos, who beat AEK 2-0 in the big Athens derby on Sunday and entered the top five of the table that leads to next season’s European competitions.

Playing what was arguably its best league performance this season, Olympiakos imposed itself on OFI and scored through Rafik Djebbour, whose double netting took his league tally to 20 goals, and through Panayiotis Vlachodimos and Tasos Papazoglou.

If Olympiakos beats AEK at home next Sunday it will have earned its third consecutive league title.

That adds to AEK’s worries, as it is now back in the relegation dogfight following its home defeat to Panathinaikos at the Olympic Stadium. The Yellows were superior in the first half as their opponent was clearly minding its defense most, but the second half was very different. Both defensive midfielders of Panathinaikos, Victor Vitolo and Habib Sow got on the scoresheet in the absence of its top scorer Toche.

The Athens derby also marked the debut of Luciano Figueroa, the former Argentine international who joined Panathinaikos in February. He was ushered in as a substitute in the last five minutes and nearly scored with his first touch.

Asteras Tripolis held on to the second spot by beating high-flying PAS Giannina 2-1 on the road, to stay one point ahead of PAOK. The Thessaloniki giant defeated visiting Panionios 4-2 in the weekend’s most entertaining game.

In other games, Xanthi upset Levadiakos winning 4-1 away, Kerkyra maintained its flickering hope of staying up by downing Platanias 2-1 on Corfu, and Atromitos saw off Panthrakikos 1-0 at Komotini.

Monday will see a key relegation battle between Veria and Aris.

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