SPORTS

Figueroa steals the show for Panathinaikos

Olympiakos warmed up for its crucial Champions League game on Wednesday at Anderlecht with a comfortable 2-0 win at Panionios, to stretch its lead back to three points as PAOK could not beat OFI away. However, the toast of Athens on Sunday was former Argentine international Luciano Figueroa.

Vladimir Weiss and Javier Saviola scored in the second half at Nea Smyrni for the Reds’ fifth win in six Super League games on Saturday, though their Spanish coach Michel knows that it is the midweek challenge in Brussels that will determine how safe his position is on the champions’ bench.

PAOK had Tomas Necid to thank for his second-half equalizer that canceled out OFI’s opener by Alexandros Perogamvrakis for 1-1 final score on Sunday at Iraklio.

Yet the story of the day was the thunderous return to the Super League of former Birmingham City, Villarreal and Genoa striker “Lucho” Figueroa, who managed to gift Panathinaikos an important 2-1 home win over Asteras Tripolis with his very first touch in the game after coming on as a substitute.

Marcus Berg scored his third goal of the season for Panathinaikos but Pablo De Blasis equalized within one minute, before Figueroa sent the Greens to the third spot of the table, five points off the pace.

Ergotelis and PAS Giannina follow, one point adrift. The Cretan team saw off Veria 1-0 away while PAS defeated 10-man Xanthi 2-1 at home.

Apollon downed Levadiakos 4-2 in the weekend’s most entertaining match to climb out of the danger zone, while popular Thessaloniki club Aris remains rooted at the bottom of the table as it failed to beat visiting Panetolikos on Sunday (0-0). Despite the managerial change, with Serb Zoran Milinkovic taking over three weeks ago, Aris remains winless in the league, with just two points.

On Monday Platanias Hanion hosts Panthrakikos and Kalloni Lesvou greets Atromitos.