AEK Athens opened up a three-point lead at the top of the Ethniki Katigoria with a convincing 3-0 away victory against FC Aris Thessaloniki on Sunday.
AEK lead the way on 52 points, with Olympiakos Piraeus FC on 49 points following a 2-2 drew against Akratitos at the OAKA Spiros Louis stadium today. AEK took a significant step towards their first league title since 1994, with only three matches remaining this term.
Ivic on target
Ilija Ivic, an Aris player until last December, gave the visitors the lead with a close-range effort after 27 minutes, before Vassilis Tsartas doubled his side's advantage with a trademark free-kick five minutes later. The match was then delayed for 20 minutes due to crowd trouble but a 73rd minute strike from Demis Nikolaidis emphasized AEK's dominance and made sure of the points.
Olympiakos were guilty of missing several clear-cut chances as they could only manage a 2-2 draw against relegation-threatened Akratitos. Dimitris Mavrogenidis gave Olympiakos and early lead on 12 minutes after good work by Pär Zeterberg. Zeterberg and Christian Karembeu both hit the woodwork for the capital club, before Christos Iliopoulos made it 1-1 six minutes before the break.
Raptis on song
Olympiakos brought the best out of Akriatos goalkeeper Dimitris Raptis in the second half. He made a series of fine saves but could not prevent the hosts taking the lead through a Predrag Djordjevic penalty. However, Iliopoulos was again the hero as he levelled the scores with a neat finish three minutes from the end.
Fourth-placed FC PAOK Thessaloniki saw their hopes of a UEFA Champions League place all but disappear as they lost 4-1 against OFI Crete. OFI secured their first home win for three months thanks to goals from Konstantinos Stavrakakis (14), Ronald Gómez (28), Xenofon Moschogiannis (71) and Alexander Soares (74). PAOK did manage to get on the scoresheet with Georgios Georgiadis's 22nd-minute penalty.
Iraklis in charge
Iraklis FC returned to winning ways with a 3-0 victory over Panahaiki GS at the Kaftantzoglio stadium. Levan Kebadze made it 1-0 with a header in the 27th minute, before Ieroklis Stoltidis converted a penalty to double the hosts' lead. Georgios Vakouftsis completed the scoring with a spectacular goal eight minutes before the final whistle.
Boost for Asteras
Ethnikos Asteras lifted themselves from the foot of the table with a 1-0 win over Aigaleo, their first win in 13 matches. Georgios Kontopoulos scored the only goal of the game 12 minutes into the second half.
Panionios keep hopes alive
Panionios GS kept up their hopes of a UEFA Cup place next season with a 2-0 over Xanthi FC. In a hard-fought match, Xanthi's attacking midfield player Abderahim Ouakili was sent off after 33 minutes. The Panionios players gradually gained control of the game and managed to take the lead through Petr Vlcekon the stroke of half-time. Ermin Siliak doubled the advantage just after the hour mark.
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