SPORTS

Olympiakos does it the hard way against Siena

Olympiakos returned from 15 points down to beat Montepaschi Siena 78-73 for the Euroleague on Thursday in Piraeus and retain its perfect record in all competitions this year.

The Reds played a poor first 30 minutes against a team that is bottom of the group and close to extinction due to its financial problems, but they somehow managed to perform yet another comeback and stretch their record to 9-0 in the first group stage of the competition.

The European champion very nearly paid the price for the three-game bans imposed on Giorgos Printezis and Mirza Begic as well as the absence of its fans on the night, all for participating in the brawl at the game against Galatasaray at home last month.

Playing therefore in front of empty stands at the Peace and Friendship Stadium, Olympiakos fell behind its visitor from the start, with Siena surprisingly leading 17-15 after the first quarter and 36-25 at half-time thanks to its tight defense that had the Greeks frustrated.

The Italians stretched their advantage to 52-37 in the third quarter, that ended with a 57-46 score in their favor, before the Greeks began their fightback.

Indeed the hosts were a different team in the last period, shooting with an amazing precision that at one point reached 11 out of 11 field goals.

Even so Siena led 72-68 with just over a minute left on the clock, but two three-pointers by Stratos Perperoglou and Vassilis Spanoulis turned things around. The Reds enjoyed a 10-1 partial score at the end of the game to win by five in the end.

Perperoglou continued his impressive performances in the Euroleague scoring 18 points, with Spanoulis adding another 16.

In the Eurocup, Panionios has mathematically qualified to the last 32 of the competition after beating Besiktas 77-67 in Athens on Wednesday. PAOK will join it in the next round if it wins in its last game at home against Nizhny Novgorod next Wednesday, having lost 70-58 at Khimik Yuznhe on Tuesday.