SPORTS

Olympiakos wins forgettable derby with Panathinaikos

Olympiakos beat Greek champion Panathinaikos 55-45 in their opening game for the Greek league on Monday in a match that was played behind closed doors and had very poor quality, as the final score can reveal too.

Both teams were error-prone, which can be justified by the fact this is the start of the season, and their shooting rates were unusually low.

If anything this was a forgettable game that seemed more like a good preseason friendly, during which one got the impression that the two teams cancelled each other out. In fact both teams played much better games in the actual preseason this year.

At least this result keeps the league alive, as Olympiakos can hope of beating Panathinaikos when the two teams meet again later this season in Athens, so as to snatch the top spot in the regular season, barring a surprise loss to any of the other teams in the A1.

The match was played without any fans and with Olympiakos having two points deducted from the table due to its fans’ action last season.

Olympiakos won on Monday despite having the pressure of needing to win, and despite the absence of its fans at the cold atmosphere of the empty Peace and Friendship Stadium. The Reds had the upper hand for most of the game thanks to a slightly better shooting rate from the three-point line, while the front line of Panathinaikos was clearly out of shape.

Matt Lojeski, the American-Belgian shooting guard, stood out among the Olympiakos players as he scored a total of 14 points including some precious baskets when Panathinaikos was putting more pressure on the Reds. In 19 minutes he made 5/5 free throws, 1/1 two-pointers and 3/3 three-pointers.

Panathinaikos’s Dimitris Diamantidis was the derby’s top scorer with 16 points.

“We need to do more work,” said Panathinaikos coach Argyris Pedoulakis after the game, pretty much stating the obvious.