Three in a row for rampant Olympiakos

Olympiakos marked its third week at the top of the Greek soccer league in style Sunday, hammering Ethnikos Asteras 6-0 at home, with substitute Peter Oforiquaye grabbing a hat trick in six minutes. The defending champion, after the home win, has 44 points after 20 rounds. Six rounds remain to be played. AEK, which beat Akratitos 1-0 away, follows close behind with 43, two clear of Panathinaikos. Panathinaikos beat Iraklis 2-1 at home Saturday, with goals from Croatian striker Goran Vlaovic and Polish national Emmanuel Olisadebe. In other action Sunday it was: Ionikos 1, Aegaleo 1; PAOK 1, Xanthi 0; and OFI 1, Aris 2. On Saturday, Panachaiki played to a 1-1 draw against Panionios. Predrag Djordjevic put Olympiakos ahead with a sixth minute penalty kick after Milan Pavlovic fouled Alexandris in Ethnikos Asteras’s area. Pavlovic also saw the red card for his last-man foul, forcing his team to continue with 10 players for the remaining 84 minutes of the game. Olympiakos coach Takis Lemonis sidelined a couple of key players close to game suspension for bookings ahead of next week’s clash against archrival Panathinaikos. In the 38th minute, Brazilian striker Giovanni fed Alexandris in front of the visitors’ goalmouth and he scored his 14th goal of the season to give Olympiakos a 2-0 lead. In the 57th, more than 8,000 Olympiakos supporters were silenced when they saw Alexandris carried in a stretcher off the pitch with a leg injury after a clash with an Ethnikos Asteras player. One minute later, Giovanni increased the score to 3-0 off a deep pass from French star Christian Karembeu. Oforiquaye, who substituted for Alexandris, added another in the 66th minute and made it 5-0 in the 68th. The Ghanaian striker ended the rout with a third goal in the 72nd. Akratitos missed a major scoring opportunity in the first minute of its game against AEK, when Lefteris Velentzas’s penalty kick was stopped by goalie Dionyssis Chiotis. AEK controlled play and went ahead with a free kick by Vassilis Tsartas from outside the area, sending the ball straight into the left corner of Dimitris Raptis’s goalmouth. AEK nearly scored in the 63rd, when Giorgos Xenidis’s header hit the crossbar. Akratitos, promoted to the first division this season, fought hard in the final minutes, but AEK’s defense checked all attacks. On Saturday, Iraklis had stunned 15,000 spectators at Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium when Argentine striker Sebastian Rampert dribbled past a defender to give the Thessaloniki squad the lead in the 26th minute. Panathinaikos dominated play, leveled with Vlaovic off a cross from Olisadebe in the 72nd. Iraklis keeper Costas Halkias made at least five awesome saves. But an error in the 82nd minute spoiled his reputation of being the game’s best player. Halkias blocked a shot by Olisadebe but failed to grasp the ball which rolled into his net, making the final 2-1. (AP)

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