SPORTS

Olympiakos winter champion, PAOK fans leave stain on win

Olympiakos is the Super League winter champion, i.e. the team to finish first after the first half of the season, as with two games left till the halfway point it has built an eight-point advantage over second-placed PAOK, thanks to its 2-0 win at Aris on Sunday evening.

The result means that Olympiakos has equalled its own record of going 29 games unbeaten away from home, but its players would be excused for having their mind set on Monday’s Champions League draw instead.

Two first-half goals by Chori Dominguez and Vladimir Weiss sank Aris even deeper into the drop zone, while the Thessaloniki club also has major financial problems to overcome. It is now bottom of the table, three points behind the other two clubs in the relegation zone, Apollon and Veria, who won at home on Sunday.

Apollon defeated Panthrakikos 3-2 and Veria saw off Panetolikos with a precious 1-0 win, but they both stayed in the bottom three as the team they chase, Platanias, stayed two points ahead of them beating Xanthi 3-0 at Hania.

PAOK made amends for its failure to score in its previous game, against Apollon at home (0-0), and put five past Kalloni Lesvou to win 5-2 at Nea Smyrni, which Kalloni used as its home ground this time. This was key to restore some calm at the PAOK ranks after the two home draws against Apollon and AZ Alkmaar last week.

However the chants by PAOK fans against the national team and Dimitris Salpingidis, scorer of two on the night, left a big stain on the game. The players of the 2004 national squad which won the European Championship in Portugal will play a charity game with Romania’s veterans on Monday at PAOK’s home ground in Toumba, and the PAOK fans are clearly not happy about that.

Atromitos exposed the defensive frailties of Panathinaikos on Saturday to win 2-1 away and consolidate itself at the third spot of the table, four points ahead of the Greens and of Asteras Tripolis.

“We concede goals too easily, while we spit blood to score,” said Panathinaikos coach Yiannis Anastasiou. He saw his scorer, Marcus Berg, get injured while celebrating his goal; he will return to action in January. Matias Iglesias scored both goals for Atromitos to overturn a 1-0 first-half deficit.

In other weekend games, PAS Giannina downed Ergotelis 2-0, OFI beat Levadiakos 1-0 and Asteras Tripolis defeated Panionios by the same score.