SPORTS

Olympiakos is favorite again

There seems to be no keeping Olympiakos from retaining its Super League crown for one more season. The soccer champion tore Panionios apart at home last night, winning 4-1 to stay four points clear of PAOK and open the gap with main rivals Panathinaikos and AEK to nine and 12 points respectively. Coach Takis Lemonis returned to the Karaiskaki Stadium as the coach of Panionios a few months after his dismissal from the Olympiakos bench and got a warm reception from the home fans. However, the home players were less welcoming, as Olympiakos upped the pace of the game after the first half hour and scored at will against a side that, until a few weeks ago, was very hard to beat. Fernando Belluschi and Diogo gave the Reds a comfortable lead even before Panionios midfielder Bernard Kumordzi was dismissed for a second bookable offense in the second half. Later Costas Mitroglou scored twice after coming on as a substitute, although his second goal was from an offside position. PAOK remained the only credible challenger to Olympiakos with its 2-1 away win at Thrasyvoulos on Saturday. The victory came via a 90th-minute strike by young substitute Stephanos Athanassiadis. Xanthi lost more ground, drawing 0-0 at Ergotelis, while Panathinaikos seemed out of focus after its famous 1-0 win at Inter Milan for the Champions League and conceded two more precious points with its 1-1 draw with Asteras Tripolis at home. AEK also dropped points in its goalless draw at Levadiakos, missing a penalty kick in injury time and hitting the woodwork three times. In other games, it was Larissa 2, Iraklis 0; Panthrakikos 2, OFI 0 and Aris 2, Panserraikos 0. Olympiakos leads the table with 29 points from 11 games, followed by PAOK with 25. Xanthi remains third with 21 points, one ahead of its next opponent, Panathinaikos. Aris and Pathrakikos have 18 apiece, AEK is down to seventh with 17, Ergotelis and Larissa each follow with 16, Panionios remained at 14, Levadiakos and Aseras Tripolis share 11th spot with 13 points, and Iraklis has 11, remaining just above the relegation zone that includes Panserraikos (9), OFI (8) and Thrasyvoulos (7 points).