SPORTS

Special day for Abidal, lucky one for PAOK

PAOK scraped through its Livadia challenge beating Levadiakos to remain on top of the Super League for Christmas, one point ahead of Olympiakos that enjoyed a great game at Kalloni and offered a special send-off to retiring Eric Abidal.

A few days after losing 2-1 to Olympiakos at home via an injury-time goal, Levadiakos lost to visiting PAOK by the same score on Sunday evening although the first goal it conceded, by Giorgos Tzavellas, appeared on TV replays it should not have counted due to an offside.

A little later Tzavellas and Levadiakos’s Vangelis Mantzios started fighting and were sent off, while in the second half Facundo Pereyra scored his seventh goal of the season for PAOK before Emmanuel Kone made it 2-1. Levadiakos missed a number of big chances to equalize, but PAOK held on for a precious win.

Olympiakos thrashed host Kalloni Lesvou 5-0 on Saturday putting the seven-game streak of clean sheets at home to an end for the islanders. Jorge Benitez scored twice, while the other goals came from Yiannis Maniatis, Chori Dominguez and Andreas Bouchalakis.

However it was the standing ovation by both sets of fans at the time of Eric Abidal’s substitution and the Frenchman’s throwing in the air by his teammates at the end of the game that made this last match in the former France defender’s career really special. Abidal announced on Friday the end of his career, just four months after his first game with Olympiakos.

With Panathinaikos not playing until Monday – at home against Kerkyra – Asteras Tripolis climbed to the third spot on Sunday beating in-form Xanthi at home 2-1.

Veria is now alone in fifth after snatching a 1-1 draw at Panthrakikos through an injury-time equalizer.

Panetolikos took three points without having to play at Niki Volou, as the game was canceled due to the host’s debts to two former players. Niki officials are now saying that the club cannot afford to continue in the Super League and may withdraw with immediate effect.

Platanias beat OFI 1-0 in the Cretan derby at Hania that was marred by clashes between rival fans, while Panionios and 10-man Atromitos shared a very entertaining 2-2 draw at Nea Smyrni. Ergotelis moved off the bottom of the table with a 1-0 home win over PAS Giannina.