Olympiakos, away, beats AEK

Defending champion Olympiakos, down to 10 men midway through the second half of a game marred by crowd violence, defeated rival AEK 1-0 yesterday to maintain its two-point lead in the Greek first division after eight rounds. Panathinaikos, in second place, played before empty stands as a disciplinary measure but remained unperturbed for a convincing defeat 3-0 victory over UEFA Cup participant Panionios. Olympiakos, playing late last night, was reduced to 10 players in the 60th minute after Tassos Pantos was shown a second yellow card, but the away side responded with a goal six minutes later. Midfielder Ieroklis Stoltidis scored from close range after AEK goalie Christomos Michalidis failed to clear a Panayiotis Gonias free kick. It was a lackluster game that featured little action. In other games played yesterday, it was: Proodeftiki-Skoda Xanthi, 1-1, and Paniliakos-Aegaleo, 0-0. In games played Saturday, it was: Iraklis-Halkidona, 1-1; Ionikos-Aris, 1-1; Akratitos-OFI, 0-1. Panathinaikos’s victory came after the club’s hopes for another respectable run in the Champions League were all but dashed last Wednesday night by a 2-0 loss against Stuttgart in Germany. Panathinaikos, Greece’s most reliable side in Europe over recent years and a Champions League quarterfinalist last season, lies last in the competition’s Group E. Yesterday, back on the domestic scene, Panathinaikos regained its footing early. Silvio Maric put Panathinaikos ahead on 18 minutes from close range after being set up by Jan Michaelsen. In the 63rd minute, striker Dimitris Papadopoulos was relentless. He entered the box after receiving a pass from Lucian Sanmartean and shot successfully toward the far post. Sanmartean registered his second for the day, a header, on 79 minutes, to seal the game for Panathinaikos at 3-0. In form, PAOK rose to third place with a 2-1 win over Kallithea in an encounter that produced all three goals in the first half. Opening strongly, the Thessaloniki side failed to put away several early scoring chances, but eventually struck in the 26th minute with a penalty from Dimitris Zavadias. A second goal was added six minutes later when a Leonidas Vokolos header rebounded from the bar and was met by teammate Dimitris Salpigidis who scored from close range. The visitor narrowed the gap to 2-1 on 40 minutes when midfielder Yiannis Tatsis struck from inside the area after defender Jacek Dabrowski made a long run from the left, entered the area, and set him up.