Olympiakos wins away

Defending champion Olympiakos made a triumphant start to the season yesterday with a 2-0 away victory over arch rival Panathinaikos, last season’s runner-up. Both sides will be representing Greece in the Champions League this season. Ieroklis Stoltidis put Olympiakos ahead in the 35th minute with a powerful header from a well-placed cross to the goalmouth by skipper Predrag Djordjevic. Olympiakos skipper Predrag Djordjevic sealed the game for the visitor with a blistering shot in the 86th minute to give his side an invincible lead late in the game against nine-man Panathinaikos. The game was loaded with yellow cards. Olympiakos defender Dimitris Mavrogenidis was shown the game’s first yellow card in the 9th minute for a unfair tackle on Croatian Srdan Andric. The home team’s first real scoring opportunity came in the 18th minute, when Emmanuel Olisadebe fed striker Dimitris Papadopoulos, whose dangerous shot was deflected just wide. Olympiakos goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis fumbled the ensuing corner kick, but his defense cleared. Still without a goal by the 52nd minute, the home team’s coach Alberto Malesani made a double substitution, bringing on Dutchman Nordin Wooter for Charalambides and striker Fanis Gekas for Olisadebe. The home team was left with ten players in the 65th minute after defender Ilias Kotsios was set off for elbowing Ioannis Okkas. Nasief Morris was then shown the yellow card for protesting the decision. Rivaldo missed a tremendous opportunity to seal the game for Olympiakos in the 78th minute. But, unchallenged within the box, he shot just wide. Eight minutes later, teammate Djordjevic made no mistake from the left with a blistering shot to make it 2-0 for Olympiakos. Morris was sent off for kicking the goalscorer, behind play, immediately after he had scored. In other games yesterday, it was: Kalamaria-OFI, 2-1; Akratitos-Iraklis, 3-1; Apollon Kalamaria-OFI, 2-1; and Panionios-Larissa, 1-1. On Saturday, it was Xanthi-PAOK, 1-0 and Kallithea-Egaleo,1-1.