AEK wins with late goals

Nikos Lymberopoulos and Bruno Cirillo scored late goals on Saturday to lift AEK Athens to a 2-0 victory over Aegaleo in the Greek league. AEK, which is 13-3-2, has 42 points and trails league leader Olympiakos by three. The Piraeus squad can regain its six-point lead if it beats visiting Kallithea tonight in Round 18’s final game. Also Saturday, third-place Panathinaikos easily defeated newcomer Levadiakos 2-0 with first-half goals from Yiannis Goumas and Fanis Gekas. Panathinaikos has 36 points. AEK enjoyed early possession and Vladan Ivic and Alexandre Soares tested Aegaleo goalkeeper Luici Cennamo with a series long range shots. Aegaleo had its first chance on goal in the 48th minute when Dimosthenis Manousakis found space in the box but was denied by goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino. AEK missed a great opportunity in the 64th when Cirillo headed wide Lymberopoulos’ free kick. Suleiman Omo saw a second yellow card in the 70th, leaving Aegaleo with 10 men. Lymberopoulos almost broke the deadlock two minutes later when his shot was stopped by Cennamo. The Greek-Italian goalkeeper was on hand again in the 82nd to stop Vassilis Lakis, but he could not do the same in the 84th minute when Lymberopoulos’s shot from the edge of the box put AEK in the lead. In the 89th, Cirillo picked a loose ball in the area to make the final 2-0. In yesterday’s games, PAOK defeated Thessaloniki rival Iraklis 1-0 to move up to fourth place. PAOK is on 30 points, six behind third-place Panathinaikos. Iraklis is now placed fifth, on 28 points. Larissa defeated last-place Akratitos 2-1 in the first ever first division encounter between the two clubs. Larissa maintained its sturdy home record with this victory but, to do so, needed to bounce back. The visitor took an early lead in the 16th minute but Larissa responded quickly with an equalizer two minutes later. Though dominant from that point on, Larissa did not score its winning goal until the 70th minute. Cretan club OFI, held to a scoreless draw at home by mid-table Atromitos, slipped into the league’s relegation zone. Usually one of the top-level league’s more formidable sides for some years now, OFI has won just two games after 18 rounds of play this season. Panionios overtook the struggling Cretan club with three precious away points gained by a 1-0 win over mid-table Ionikos. Apollon Kalamaria beat Xanthi 2-1 at home to maintain a safe distance from the relegation zone. (AP, Kathimerini)

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