Olympiakos trounces OFI and extends lead at the top of Greek first division

Defending champion Olympiakos easily beat struggling OFI Crete 4-0 Sunday to increase its lead to 12 points in the Greek first division. Michalis Constantinou, Predrag Djordjevic, Rivaldo and Dani Garcia scored for Olympiakos, which won its 15th straight match. The Piraeus squad has 60 points from 22 games, 12 ahead of both Panathinaikos and AEK Athens. Croatia midfielder Igor Biscan scored the lone goal to help Panathinaikos beat AEK 1-0. The two Athens clubs are fighting for second place, which leads to the qualifying round of the Champions League. Also Sunday, it was: Panionios 2, Akratitos 4; Apollon 2, Larissa 2; Atromitos 3, Iraklis 2; and Ionikos 1, PAOK 1. Olympiakos looked dangerous from the start and took the lead in the 15th minute when Constantinou headed in a free kick from Grigoris Georgatos. It was the eighth goal of the season for the Cyprus striker. The hosts doubled their lead in the 21st with a penalty kick by Djordjevic before Rivaldo made it 3-0 in the 38th with a curling lob. Dani sealed the victory in the 74th. Panathinaikos dominated possession for most of the match and came close to scoring with Dimitris Papadopoulos and Fanis Gekas before Biscan headed home the winning goal in the 53rd. AEK rarely troubled the hosts’ defense but could have leveled in the 63rd when Vassilis Lakis shot wide on an open goal. Panathinaikos missed an opportunity to increase its lead in injury time when Stefano Sorentino saved a penalty kick taken by Gekas. The game was marred by pre-match violence when police used tear gas to disperse about 100 rival supporters who clashed outside the stadium. Police said one man was injured and another arrested. Meanwhile, in the English Premiership league, Giorgos Samaras scored twice in as many minutes for Manchester City in a 2-1 home win over bottom club Sunderland on Sunday. Samaras scored spectacular goals in the ninth and 10th minutes, five days after making his international debut for Greece with a goal in a 1-0 friendly win over Belarus. «Giorgos has a very bright future at this club,» Manchester City Manager Stuart Pearce said of the 21-year-old, who joined in January from Dutch club Heerenveen. «From day one, I have been impressed with his willingness to learn and felt he was someone I wanted to work with for the next few years.» (AP)