Scoreless Thessaloniki derby has Reds clinch regular season top spot



by George Georgakopoulos

The goalless draw at the Thessaloniki derby on Sunday meant Olympiakos has pulled further away from second-placed PAOK, in a weekend with a rather poor performance by strikers as in seven games fans saw only nine goals.


Aris and PAOK played out a scoreless derby at the Kleanthis Vikelidis stadium, with the killing of Aris fan Alkis Kabanos by PAOK fans a few weeks earlier casting its shadow.


Olympiakos, victor of a tough game at Volos earlier on Sunday thanks to a Mathieu Valbuena 10 minutes from time (1-0), has now opened an 11-point advantage at the top of the Super League table. That means Olympiakos has mathematically clinched the top spot ahead of the play-offs.


Two second-half goals by Petros Mantalos and Karim Ansarifard gave AEK a 2-0 win over visiting PAS Giannina, meaning AEK will most likely end up third at the end of the regular season.


Panathinaikos lost for an eighth time in 12 road games, this time at Panetolikos that won 1-0 through a Javier Mendoza free-kick.


Yet the Greens remained on fourth as besides the loss of PAS Giannina, Asteras Tripolis also lost and OFI Crete dropped two points at Ionikos: Asteras went down 2-0 at lowly Atromitos and OFI drew 0-0 at Nikaia.


Bottom team Apollon Smyrnis remained alive in the relegation dogfight, dragging Lamia into it: The Athens team won 2-1 away on Sunday and is four points behind Atromitos and five behind Lamia, with three games left to play.


The team to finish last in the regular season will be relegated and the one above it will have to negotiate a playoff with a Super League 2 team.