Title all but sealed for Panathinaikos

Panathinaikos will be crowned soccer champion on Sunday, April 14, if it manages to draw with Iraklis at home, as it requires no more than a single point to mathematically clinch its first title in six years. The Greens put themselves in this position thanks to an emphatic 3-0 victory at Atromitos but also because of Olympiakos’s failure to beat Xanthi at home and third-placed PAOK’s loss at Larissa. PAO went into the match at Peristeri yesterday knowing that a win would bring it close to ending Olympiakos’s domestic domination in the Super League. It had to wait just 17 minutes before Dimitris Salpigidis scored from close range after a weak clearance by the Atromitos goalkeeper. The Greens soaked up some pressure from the home team before earning a penalty in the 74th minute through captain Giorgos Karagounis. Super League top-scorer Djibril Cisse took his tally to 22 goals with his successful spot kick, before Argentine winger Sebastian Leto sealed the victory for Panathinaikos two minutes from time with his strike. Olympiakos produced yet another lackluster performance at home as it failed to beat struggling Xanthi in a goalless game that had the Reds’ fans jeering at their own team in the end. PAOK suffered its third straight loss, going down 2-1 in Larissa, while AEK escaped defeat at home to Panionios through an injury-time equalizer by Nacho Scocco (1-1). Aris added to Levadiakos’s troubles through a Darcy Neto goal from a direct freekick (1-0), while Iraklis brought PAS Giannina closer to relegation, winning 2-0 at home. In the other games, Ergotelis upset Kavala 3-1 away and Asteras confirmed its Super League status for one more year, beating Panthrakikos 3-1 at home. Panathinaikos has 64 points from 28 games, followed by the four teams to enter the playoffs: Olympiakos with 58, PAOK with 56, AEK with 49 and Aris with 46. Kavala has 38, Iraklis 37, Panionios is eighth with 36, Atromitos has 35, Larissa has 34, while Ergotelis and Asteras Tripolis share the 11th spot at 33 points. Two teams from the pool of Levadiakos (30), Xanthi (29) and PAS Giannina (28) will likely follow the already relegated Panthrakikos (12) to the second division.

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