SPORTS

A night of unenviable records set by Greek clubs in Europe

It was an evening of unenviable records for Greek soccer in Europe Wednesday night, the more humiliating one of two set by Olympiakos following its 7-0 hammering by Juventus in Turin, a new Champions League record. The evening’s other record-setter, AEK, registered its 18th Champions League game without a win, breaking Spartak Moscow’s previous 17-game run with a scoreless draw in Athens against French side AS Monaco. Both Greek clubs ended last in their respective Champions League groups and made early exits from the competition. They also failed to gain consolation spots in the less prestigious UEFA Cup’s third round, which third place in their groups would have assured. AEK’s 18-game stretch without a victory is not as embarrassing as it appears to be. The side has drawn nine of these 18 matches, six of them last year in all its first-phase group games, including two ties against the mighty Real Madrid. For Olympiakos, Wednesday’s thrashing in Turin came as a heavy blow that threatens to nullify signs of maturity displayed in this season’s Champions League after unfocused previous outings. This season, Olympiakos, winner of Greece’s past seven league titles and desperate to improve on futile European showings, opened its campaign as a more confident side without, however, collecting any points for its efforts. The club lost its first three games in Group D by one-goal margins to Real Sociedad in Spain, Juventus at home, and Galatasaray in Turkey. All three were finely balanced encounters that could have gone either way. Olympiakos then picked up its first points with a resounding 3-0 win over Galatasaray in Athens. Following a tie with Real Sociedad, at home again, it headed to the Turin slaughterhouse on Wednesday night. The Greek champion had traveled to Italy seeking victory for a possible third place in Group D and a UEFA Cup berth. Victory, combined with nothing better than a draw by Galatasaray against Deportivo La Coruna in Spain – they drew 1-1 – would have provided the Greek side with its UEFA Cup spot. AEK, which ended at the bottom of Group C with two draws and four defeats, had nothing to shoot for Wednesday against group winner Monaco. Panathinaikos, Greece’s other Champions League entry this season, awaits today’s UEFA Cup draw for round three in the competition after snatching third place in Group E from Rangers with a stunning 3-1 win in Glasgow on Tuesday night.