SPORTS

Defending champ Olympiakos regains lead

Uruguayan striker Nery Castillo scored for the second consecutive league round, as Olympiakos beat Kallithea 2-0 Saturday to regain the first division lead after seven rounds. The Piraeus squad took advantage of Panathinaikos’s 2-1 loss to Aegaleo away to move to the top of the standings with 18 points from seven games. Panathinaikos, which took the lead from Olympiakos in the third round, dropped to second place with 16 points, also from seven games. With goals from Yiannis Skopelitis and Yiannis Chloros, Aegaleo, an Athens suburban club, marked its fifth consecutive league win of the season to retain third place with 15 points, three ahead of AEK. AEK beat Aris 2-1 away but remained sixth with 12 points. PAOK, which took part in one of four games played yesterday, registered its third consecutive away victory in the Greek league, this time trouncing Cretan club OFI 3-0. The Thessaloniki club maintained fourth place with 14 points. Also yesterday, Panionios defeated Iraklis 2-1 and is placed fifth with 13 points. In other games played yesterday, it was: Paniliakos-Proodeftiki, 4-1, and Halkidona-Ionikos, 3-2. Olympiakos besieged Kallithea from the kickoff but it took 58 minutes until Castillo gave his team the lead. Predrag Djordjevic crossed to Castillo who sent the ball into the upper-right corner. It was the fourth league goal for Castillo who did a hat trick against OFI two weeks ago. Olympiakos, which plays against Galatasaray in the Champions League in Istanbul, Turkey, tomorrow, sealed the hard-fought victory with a goal by Giovanni off a center from Tassos Pantos in the 70th. Panathinaikos’s first league defeat this season comes just before the Athens club travels to Germany to play Stuttgart in the Champions League Wednesday. Aegaleo, the season’s surprise team, went ahead in the fourth with a powerful shot by Skopelitis. Two minutes later, Dimitris Papadopoulos exploited a misunderstanding between defender Giorgos Alexopoulos and goalie Mahamadou Sidibe to level at 1-1. After the break, Panathinaikos’s coach Itzhak Shum replaced Romanian playmaker Lucian Sanmartean but the move weakened the team’s midfield. Aegaleo took full advantage and went ahead 2-1 in the 54th with a blistering shot from outside the area by Chloros. AEK, one of the three traditional title contenders, along with Olympiakos and Panathinaikos, needed a victory against Aris to remain close to the leaders. The Athenians, who face PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League at home tomorrow, wasted two scoring opportunities before Sotiris Constantinidis gave AEK the lead. A Theo Zagorakis pass pierced Aris’s defense and ended up with Constantinidis who found the net in first-half injury time. Three minutes into the second period, Aris equalized with Yiannis Lazanas off a perfect pass from Nikos Kyzeridis. In the 54th, Nikos Lymberopoulos exploited an error by Theodoros Gitkos to make the final score 2-1. Aris, drawn to play against Italy’s Perugia in the second round of the UEFA Cup, fought hard in the dying minutes to level but AEK’s defense resisted well. In another game on Saturday, Xanthi marked its first league victory by beating Akratitos 2-0. (AP, Kathimerini)