AEK alone atop the first division

Brazilian striker Alessandro Soares scored in the 19th minute to give AEK a 1-0 win over Halkidona and first place in the Greek first division yesterday. The win, combined with a 1-1 draw by Panathinaikos against last-placed Aris at Thessaloniki, helped AEK replace Panathinaikos at the top of the standings. After nine rounds, AEK leads with 21 points, one more than Olympiakos Piraeus and Panathinaikos. Olympiakos is second on goal difference. After a hard-fought match against Aris, Panathinaikos managed to take the lead in the 87th minute with a goal by Dimitris Papadopoulos. But Avraam Papadopoulos leveled for the hosts in second-half injury time. A hat-trick by Brazilian forward Giovanni gave Olympiakos a 4-0 win over Ionikos at Nikea. Prior to the match, Ionikos had conceded no goals at home this season. In other results Sunday, it was: Kallithea 1, Apollon 1; Iraklis 2, Aegaleo 2; and Xanthi 0, PAOK 2. On Saturday, Panionios beat Kerkyra 3-1 in a match that was disrupted by a blackout two minutes before the end. Greek soccer regulations called for the remaining minutes to be played the next day, but the two clubs agreed to finish the game one hour later when power was restored. AEK controlled play from the start and scored the game’s only goal in the 19th minute. Soares received a perfect pass from defender Kofi Amponsah in front of the Halkidona’s goalmouth to mark his seventh goal of the season. Giovanni has also reached seven goals. (AP)