Olympiakos beats Aris 3-0 for first Cup title in 6 years

Predrag Djordjevic scored two goals and Rivaldo got the other Saturday to lift Olympiakos to the Greek Cup title after beating Aris 3-0. The game was marred by pre-match clashes outside the stadium between rival fans. Police said several shops and cars were damaged, but no injuries were reported. Three fans were arrested. Olympiakos charged forward from kickoff, nearly scoring in the 12th minute when a blistering free kick by Yiannis Taralidis forced Aris goalkeeper Vangelis Pourliotopoulos to punch away the ball. Aris played defensively with sudden counterattacks. The strategy almost paid off in the 33rd, when Olympiakos goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis made a diving save to a close range shot from Costas Kallimanis. After the interval, Olympiakos coach Dusan Bajevic threw on two more strikers. But it was Aris which squandered a major scoring opportunity in the 49th when Ioakim Beniskos, one-on-one with Nikopolidis, saw his lob well saved. In the 56th, Djordjevic opened the scoring by converting a penalty after Giorgos Koltsidas had carelessly floored Giovanni in the area. The match’s highlight came in the 69th, when Rivaldo made it 2-0 with a beautiful curling shot from near the corner flag after spotting Pourliotopoulos off his line. The Aris ‘keeper could only watch as the ball sailed high over his head before dipping low into the net. In the 90th, both Djordjevic and Rivaldo appeared to get their foot into a close-range strike which left Pourliotopoulos no chance. The goal was credited to Djordjevic. It was the first Cup won by the Piraeus club since 1999 and Olympiakos’s 21st in the competition’s 63-year history. Olympiakos can pull off the double by winning the first division title if it beats Iraklis on Wednesday in the league’s final round. Olympiakos is one point ahead of rival and defending champion Panathinaikos. Aris faces certain relegation to the second division if a sports appeal tribunal upholds a decision Thursday to dock the club three points as punishment for fan violence last weekend. Aris is currently 14th in the 16-team standings. During the pre-match incidents, police used tear gas to disperse rival fans. Outside the Panpeloponnisiako Stadium in Patras, western Greece, Olympiakos fans tried to stop Aris supporters from getting in. Inside the stadium, some fans ripped out plastic seats to throw at each other. Supporters earlier clashed on the way to the game. Police said some cars were damaged after an incident on the Rio-Antirrio Bridge. (AP)

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