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Sunday, March 14, 2010

Loukas Vintra: crucial goal for PanathinaikosPanathinaikos fans can start counting down the days until they can again call themselves champions of Greece after the Greens snatched a vital victory in the Peloponnese while rivals PAOK crashed in the Thessaloniki derby.

Panathinaikos, who have not won the title since 2003-4, owed their victory to a single strike from Loukas Vintra in the 72nd minute of their game against Asteras Tripolis.

A neat move down the left saw Sotiris Ninis thread the ball through to Sebastian Leto who passed across the top of the penalty area for Vintra to latch on to a first time shot that screeched past the Asteras goalkeeper.

The win takes Panathinaikos to 61 points. With four rounds remaining they are five clear of PAOK whose good recent form hit the buffers at Aris.

No away fans were allowed but the game was still preceded by minor clashes between Aris fans and police who resorted to tear gas.

Aris, pushing for a top five finish, had the better of the game and a goal in each half from Javier Campora gave them the points.

PAOK's night went from bad to worse when they had two players sent off in the space of three minutes.

In the 78th minute, Miroslaw Sznaucner collected his second yellow card and two minutes later Vierinha followed suit, leaving PAOK to finish with nine men.

Defending champions Olympiakos Piraeus are two points further back after being held to a 2-2 draw at home by struggling PAS Yiannina.

Yiannina remain in grave danger of the drop but they do at least have a chance of survival which is more than can be said for Panthrakikos who are the first team to be relegated after losing 1-0 to Panionios.

Xanthi dropped into the bottom three when they were beaten 2-1 at fellow strugglers Levadiakos.

Mugurel Buga put Xanthi ahead four minutes before half-time but three red cards in quick succession changed the flow of the game.

In the 62nd minute, Xanthi were reduced to ten when Mauro Poy collected a second yellow card. One minute later two more players were also heading down the tunnel - Giannis Alexiou of Levadiakos and Giannis Papadimitriou of Xanthi.

That opened the door for the home side who levelled in the 88th minute through Giorgos Barkoglou. Two minutes later, Barkoglou struck again to buy Levadiakos some crucial breathing space in the fight for survival.

Yiannina and Xanthi, who are in the drop zone, have 25 points while Levadiakos now have 27. Larissa's 1-0 win over Ergotelis leaves both of them on 30 points alongside Asteras. None of them is safe.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Super LeagueOlympiakos's hopes of retaining its Super League title suffered a major setback on Sunday as the Reds lost 1-0 at Iraklis just after Panathinaikos had dispatched Levadiakos 3-0.

Having seen title rivals Panathinaikos and PAOK win, all the pressure was on Olympiakos to produce a stirring performance at the Kaftantzogleio Stadium but they came up against a spirited Iraklis and a goalkeeper in an inspired mood in Daniel Fernandes.

The on-loan Portuguese keeper was equal to everything that Olympiakos could throw at him in the second-half, when the Reds had more than 70 percent of the possession and create several clear chances.

Iraklis had taken the lead in the eighth minute when Swedish defender Olof Mellberg tripped Daigo Kobayashi in the box. Romanian Bogdan Mara scored from the spot to give the home side something to hang onto for the rest of the game.

Iraklis had Victoras Iacob sent off for a second yellow card during stoppage time - his third red card of the season - but it was too late to have an impact on the final result.

The defeat means that Olympiakos remain on 53 points, five behind Panathinaikos and three behind PAOK in second place.

The Reds now need nothing but a win when they face Panathinaikos in two weeks' time if they are going to have a chance of retaining their title.

The win moves Iraklis to 31 points, seven clear of the relegation zone.

Panathinaikos scored all their goals in a blistering 10-minute spell in the second half against Levadiakos to maintain their two-point gap at the top of the Super League table.

Panathinaikos took their time to break down some strong resistance from relegation-threatened Levadiakos at the Olympic Stadium in Athens.

A mixture of sloppy finishing, bad luck and desperate defending meant that the first goal did not come until the 65th minute when Dimitris Salpigidis struck.

Sebastian Leto, who had been a threat throughout the game, added a second in the 72nd minute and Djibril Cisse got his customary goal on 75 minutes, after missing a penalty.

The win moved Panathinaikos onto 58 points from 25 games. Levadiakos remain third from bottom on 24 points.

Panionios took a major stride towards securing their safety with a resounding 3-0 home win over Xanthi, who remain in deep trouble.

Bennard Kumordzi opened the scoring on 21 minutes and Czech defender Martin Latka added a second five minutes before half-time to put the home side in the driving seat.

Former Aston Villa striker Bosko Balaban rounded off the win on 61 minutes.

Panionios are on 31 points, seven clear of the drop zone, and can now begin to plan for another season in the top tier.

Things are less clear cut for Xanthi, who remain on 25 points - just one place and one point above the bottom three.

Xanthi's day was made even worse by the news that fellow strugglers PAS Yiannina had beaten Asteras Tripolis with an injury time goal.

Ibrahima Bakayoko got the vital goal to give the home side a 1-0 win that lifted them to 24 points and gives the team from northeastern Greece renewed hope of Super League survival.

Asteras had played the last 20 minutes with 10 men after the sending off of Adrian Bastia. The Peloponneseans are in 10th place.

The mid-table clash between Ergotelis and Atromitos ended 1-1 on Crete.

An own goal by Polish striker Marek Saganowski had given Ergotelis the lead in the 83rd minute but Atromitos have proved all season that they are made of stern stuff and it was no surprise when Stelios Sfakianakis scored an equalizer in the first minute of injury time.

PAOK top after thrashing Xanthi
Iraklis put four past Asteras in Tripoli
PAOK beat PAO to join title race
Greens lose 2-1 in Thessaloniki
Kavala stun Greens, let Reds back in
PAO lose 2-0 at home, Olympiakos beat Asteras
Cisse double keeps PAO on course
Greens beat Larissa, Olympiakos thrash Levadiakos
Larissa beat Iraklis in six-pointer
Asteras Tripolis and Ergotelis also win
PAOK march on, AEK draw at Iraklis
Thessaloniki sides get vital points
Cleyton saves the day for Panathinaikos
Aris, Kavala, Kallithea also through in Cup
Reds win fails to lift Piraeus gloom
Olympiakos booed after beating Larissa
Aris sign Adu and Johnson, beat Atromitos
Win for Larissa over Asteras
Aris win over Olympiakos sends PAO top
Reds beaten 1-0 in Thessaloniki

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