SPORTS

Olympiakos bolsters league lead

League front runner Olympiakos took full advantage of its game in hand with Panionios to break six points clear at the top of the Greek first division after winning 2-0 away on Saturday. The game had initially been canceled by a sports tribunal last month after fans of both clubs clashed extensively. Their administrations appealed successfully against both the game’s cancellation, as well as three-point deductions imposed on both clubs. Olympiakos, on 40 points after 17 rounds, lies six points clear of second-placed AEK and seven points ahead of third-placed Panathinaikos, which, just weeks ago, was at the top of the standings but is now mired in internal strife as a result of crucial recent losses. Last week’s third-round exit from the Greek Cup prompted Panathinaikos to terminate the contract of its Czech coach Zdenek Scasny, who had signed just months earlier. According to press reports, the club is expected to announce his replacement this week, possibly today. Reports contended that the Greek club’s new coach, an import, had never before worked in Greece but possessed a thorough picture of domestic soccer. Returning to Olympiakos, the team’s 2-0 win over Panionios ended the latter’s undefeated home record this season. The teams played before empty stands as part of a four-game fan ban imposed on both clubs as punishment for the violence that had erupted between respective fans in the previous attempt to stage the match. «Every player did his job. They all deserve to be congratulated. We’ve now broken clear in the standings but need to remain low-key and must bear in mind that everything can suddenly change if we’re not cautious,» said Olympiakos coach Dusan Bajevic. Brazilian striker Rivaldo scored for a second consecutive game after slotting the ball past the keeper from close range in the 50th minute. Days earlier, he had come on as a substitute to score a late goal against Iraklis that provided Olympiakos its place in the fourth round of the Greek Cup. Pantelis Kaffes added a second goal for Olympiakos in the 64th minute.