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Panathinaikos 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.
The two sides were separated by 41 points at the start of play and the gulf in class was soon evident as PAOK took the lead in the 25th minute as defender Stelios Malezas followed up his participation in the Greek national team with a rare goal.
French midfielder Olivier Sorlin added a second just three minutes before half-time to put the result beyond doubt.
The third goal came from Brazilian left-back Lino in the 80th minute.
Fernando Santos's men are now on 56 points after 25 games, one point ahead of Panathinaikos and three in front of Olympiakos who both play on Sunday.
AEK's recent run of good form came to an end at the Alkazar Stadium in Larissa, where they lost 1-0 to the relegation-threatened home side.
The winner was scored by Czech striker Jan Blazek in the 56th minute. Blazek had also struck the post after just 10 minutes of play.
The win gives Larissa a vital three points and lifts them to 12th position, three points above the relegation zone. AEK remain in fourth place on 42 points.
Aris missed the chance to move to within one point of the Athenians as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Kavala in a game featuring two fine strikes.
The first came after just 8 minutes when the ball fell to Toni Calvo at the corner of the penalty area and he curled an exquisite shot into the far corner.
Kavala hit the post twice before the hit back in impressive fashion through a swerving free kick from Serge Die in the 79th minute.
There was frustration for the home side 10 minutes later when winger Diogo Rincon was sent off after picking up a second yellow card for a late lunge.
The draw means that Kavala remain in sixth two points behind Aris who are on 39 points after 25 games.
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