Olympiakos scrapes through

A late strike from Grigoris Georgatos, in the 88th minute of play, gave Olympiakos a 2-1 win over visiting Kallithea last night to maintain the defending champion’s six-point lead in Greek soccer’s first-division league standings just after the halfway mark. The match completed the 18th round of play. Second-place AEK also won on Saturday, 2-0 against Aegaleo. Third-place Panathinaikos, which defeated Levadiakos 2-0, also Saturday, lies six points behind AEK. Brazilian star Rivaldo opened the scoring for Olympiakos in the ninth minute of play with a well-struck free kick. But the visitors responded with a spectacular strike by Christos Koutsospyros from within the box, after he connected with a cross, leveled the score at 1-1 after 30 minutes of play. Minutes earlier, the referee failed to award the visiting side a penalty kick following a challenge by Olympiakos defender Dimitris Mavrogenidis. Meanwhile, rumors of possible negotiations between Olympiakos and Glasgow Rangers defender Sotiris Kyrgiakos prompted protests from organized fans at Karaiskaki Stadium last night ahead of the game’s start. There has been an ongoing rivalry between Olympiakos fans and Kyrgiakos, formerly of the Piraeus club’s archrival, Panathinaikos. There have been reports that Glasgow Rangers is considering putting the central defender on the transfer market. Kyrgiakos has been a regular starter with the Scottish club since last summer’s transfer from Panathinaikos, but there have been concerns about the defender’s fiery temper. He has been sent off several times this season, leaving his team a man short. Scottish newspaper the Daily Record reported that the Greek international’s association will be terminated at the end of this season, while mentioning that the player may transfer to Olympiakos. The article noted that, for Greek soccer standards, such a move is controversial, and likened it to the bitter rivalry between Scottish clubs Celtic and Glasgow Rangers.

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