By Vassiliki Papantonopoulou
Olympiacos CFP are just one victory away from winning the Hellenic National League after they overtook Panathinaikos FC at the top by a point with a 3-0 defeat of Panionios NFC in the penultimate round of fixtures.
Pantelis Kafes scored the opener, latching on to Ioannis Okkas’s pass just before the hour and nine minutes later the two players swapped roles to increase their team’s lead. Substitute Nery Alberto Castillo completed the scoring on 71 minutes with a simple tap-in after goalkeeper Foto Strakosha had blocked Rivaldo’s initial strike.
Dušan Bajevic’s side can now lift the title next week if they win at Iraklis FC, after leapfrogging reigning champions Panathinaikos who were held to a goalless by title rivals AEK Athens in the final match to be staged at Apostolos Nikolaidis stadium before Panathinikos move to the Olympic Stadium next season.
Xanthi FC, already qualified for next season’s UEFA Cup, moved above fellow UEFA Cup qualifiers PAOK into fourth place following Brazilian Luciano de Souza’s 62nd-minute goal, which defeated Kallithea FC. PAOK lost at Apollon Kalamarias FC, after Clayton Silva scored twice to cancel out Marcin Mieczel’s first-half effort and boost his side’s survival hopes. Elsewhere at the bottom, Ionikos FC mathematically guaranteed their top-flight status with a goalless draw against OFI Crete FC, who slip to the last safety berth in the division.
Currently in the relegation zone, Aris Thessaloniki FC faced a must-win game at home to Iraklis in order to keep alive their hopes of staying in the top division. However, after 32 minutes they already trailed by two goals from Dimitris Ioannou and Idrit Fortuzi. Shortly after, the game was suspended for 20 minutes following home crowd disturbances.
On the game's resumption, the home side pulled a goal back through Dorge Rostant Cuemaha’s 42nd-minute header, sparking another pitch invasion from Aris fans, which resulted in the match officials abandoning the game. Iraklis players Georgios Abaris and Anastasios Katsabis were both taken to hospital and a decision on the outcome of the match is expected to be made in the next few days.
Meanwhile, Egaleo FC prevailed 2-1 against Halkidona FC, with Nikolaos Nikolopoulos scoring the winner, while the already relegated duo of Ergotelis FC and Kerkyra FC played out a 1-1 draw.
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