SPORTS

Xanthi maintains lead with a 1-0 win over newcomer Larissa

Brazilian striker Luciano scored the only goal yesterday and Xanthi beat newcomer Larissa 1-0 to return to the top of the Greek first-division standings. Xanthi leads the league with 19 points from eight matches, one ahead of defending champion Olympiakos, which beat Apollon 2-1 Saturday, to occupy top spot for a day. Panathinaikos, last season’s runner-up, beat PAOK 1-0 at the Athens Olympic stadium to retain fourth place with 14 points. AEK, also on 14 points, plays crosstown rival Panionios today. Also yesterday, it was: Ionikos 1, OFI 1; Iraklis 2, Levadiakos 0; and Atromitos 0, Aegaleo 0. Stavros Lambriakos hit the post for Xanthi after two minutes, but the provincial club had to wait until the 45th to break the tie when Luciano dribbled by a defender and put the ball past Larissa keeper Thanasis Kotsolis. The host team dominated most of the match and was unlucky not to increase the margin when Luciano was denied by the woodwork in the 84th. In Athens, Evangelos Mantzios put Panathinaikos ahead in the 14th with his third goal of the season off a perfect through ball by Ezequiel Gonzalez. PAOK gradually took control of possession and squandered chances from Ilias Charalambous in the 32nd, Dionysis Hasiotis in the 55th and Armand Feutchine in the 64th. Panathinaikos seemed lethargic in the second half and missed at least two scoring chances from sub Emmanuel Olisadebe and Benn Nilsson. Olympiakos, playing Saturday, was helped to its 2-1 victory at Apollon by a goal in each half from Cyprus strikers Yiannis Okkas and Michalis Constantinou. Olympiakos’s Okkas shot home in the 45th to make it 1-0, but Ali El Omari equalized in the 60th, before Constantinou sealed the win in the 71st with his third goal of the season. Olympiakos, missing goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis, down with the flu, and injured defender Michalis Kapsis, controlled the match throughout. Also Saturday, last-place Kallithea won its first match of the season, 2-0 over visiting Akratitos. (AP)