Provincial soccer powers show their might

Olympiakos lost 3-1 at PAS Giannina on Sunday, but is within four points from winning the title as challenger Panathinaikos drew 2-2 at home with Asteras Tripolis, while third-placed PAOK struggled to beat visiting Xanthi 2-1, as clubs from outside the main cities displayed their teeth to the league leaders.

Brana Ilic, Michalis Manias and Noe Acosta Rivera (who was later sent off) scored for PAS Giannina as the hosts at the Zosimades stadium of Ioannina proved they deserve a spot in the play-offs. Olympiakos was once again under manager Vitor Pereira a shadow of the team about to be crowned champion. It only managed to pull a goal back through Luka Milivojevic.

In one of its worst performances to date this season Panathinaikos should be happy with the point it snatched from a superior Asteras in front of the empty stands of the Apostolos Nikolaidis stadium in Athens on Saturday. The Greens blew away a two-goal half-time lead after goals by Marcus Berg, as Jeronimo Barales took his tally to 16 league goals with his brace on the night.

PAOK scraped through Xanthi at home, as the two goals by Dimitris Papadopoulos proved enough in the end, although Silva Cleyton reduced Xanthi’s deficit and the Thrace club felt it deserved to earn a draw at Toumba.

In the weekend’s other games Platanias, Panionios and Ergotelis scored precious home wins in their effort to stay in the Super League. Platanias saw off Veria 1-0, Panionios dismissed Panetolikos 3-0 and Ergotelis defeated fellow struggling Panthrakikos 2-1.

On Monday Atromitos greets Kerkyra.

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