Panathinaikos pulls clear

Olympiakos dropped to third place in the Greek first division on Sunday after being held to a 1-1 draw by OFI at Iraklion, Crete. Brazilian midfielder Giovanni gave Olympiakos the lead in the 71st minute, but OFI leveled 11 minutes later through substitute Bulgarian striker Metodi Deyanov. The team needed a victory to return to the top alongside Panathinaikos, which beat Kallithea 2-0 on Saturday. Panathinaikos leads the league with 49 points from 23 matches, followed by AEK Athens, which beat visiting Ergotelis 3-0, with 48. Olympiakos is third with 47 points. Also Sunday, it was: Iraklis 2, Apollon 3; Ionikos 2, Aris 1; PAOK 2, Halkidona 1; and Panionios 0, Aegaleo 0. On Saturday, Xanthi drew 1-1 with last-place Kerkyra. Playing without Brazilian star Rivaldo, Olympiakos got off to a lively start. But apart from two powerful shots by Grigoris Georgatos, the Piraeus team was unable to trouble OFI’s tight defense in the first half. «We created chances but we were just unlucky,» Olympiakos coach Dusan Bajevic said. The visitors dominated the match after the interval. In the 49th, Georgatos broke free in the box but was denied twice by goalkeeper Michail Sifakis. Two minutes later, a header by Pantelis Kafes hit the crossbar, while Sifakis was on hand in the 59th to block a point-blank shot from Yiannis Okkas. Olympiakos finally broke the deadlock in the 71st. Sifakis fumbled a shot by Okkas and the ball fell to Giovanni, who made no mistake from close range. OFI equalized in the 82nd with a powerful header by Deyanov off a cross from Joseph Nwafor. It was Olympiakos’s third straight league draw. In Athens, AEK opened the scoring against Ergotelis in the 37th when Bulgarian midfielder Milen Petkov drove the ball home from the edge of the area. Ergotelis, which is struggling to avoid relegation, pushed forward for an equalizer, leaving AEK to exploit the gaps left behind. Nikos Lymberopoulos struck twice in the 48th and 53rd minutes. No league games will be held next weekend due to Greece’s World Cup qualifier in Georgia on Saturday. (AP)

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