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Panathinaikos maintain title charge

Published: Sunday 24 April 2005, 19.29CET
Panathinaikos FC kept themselves top of the pile in Greece after an eventful 6-3 win against Halkidona FC.

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Published: Sunday 24 April 2005, 19.29CET

Panathinaikos maintain title charge

Panathinaikos FC kept themselves top of the pile in Greece after an eventful 6-3 win against Halkidona FC.

By Vassiliki Papantonopoulou

Panathinaikos FC maintained their one-point lead at the Ethniki Kategoria summit after winning an eventful nine-goal game against Halkidona FC, while AEK Athens FC scored a last-gasp goal to remain second.

Seesaw encounter
Panathinaikos recorded an emphatic-looking 6-3 win at home, but the scoreline failed to reflect a match that swung one way and then the other before two unanswered goals from Michalis Konstantinou and another from Dimitris Papadopoulos sealed victory in the final half hour.

Halkidona fightback
Panathinaikos drew first blood at a deserted Apostolos Nikolaidis stadium - a punishment for crowd disturbance at the recent Olympiacos CFP derby - when Markus Münch converted a ninth-minute penalty. But Halkidona struck back through Ioannis Sotirhos on 24 minutes before Ioannis Katemis gave them the lead from close range four minutes before the interval.

Late blows
By the interval, the visitors were losing however, with Ezequiel Gonzales and Theofanis Gekas making it 3-2 in added time at the end of the first half. Halkidona equalised again with a fine volley by Katemis on 55 minutes before Konstantinou led his side home in the final 30 minutes.

Last-gasp win
AEK remain just a point behind after a similarly fluctuating performance against OFI Crete FC. Fernando Santos' side looked to be heading for a share of the spoils after Nikos Machlas and Georgios Kazantzis cancelled out goals from Vladimir Ivic and Júlio César with just two minutes remaining. But there was still time for Nikolaos Lyberopoulos to grab an added-time winner.

Rivaldo revels
Olympiacos were also victorious, although they too experienced nervy moments in their 3-1 victory against Egaleo FC. Rivaldo inspired the win, scoring twice from long range before Manolis Psomas reduced the deficit on the hour mark. Giovanni settled Olympiacos' nerves with a lob 12 minutes from time.

Xanthi rise
PAOK Thessaloniki relinquished fourth spot after Marcelo Gutman's 69th-minute effort earned Ionikos FC a 1-1 draw and allowed Xanthi FC, who defeated Iraklis FC 1-0 thanks to a header from substitute Vlassis Kazakis, to move behind the leading trio. Elsewhere, Kallithea FC and Panionios NFC drew 1-1.

Relegation tussles
Kerkira FC and Ergotelis FC remain adrift at the foot of the table, eight points from safety after suffering familiar losses to their nearest relegation rivals. Ergotelis FC were defeated 1-0 by Kalamaria, while Kerkira succumbed to Aris Thessaloniki FC in a game that saw Seini N'Diaye sent off.

Last updated: 25/04/05 0.50CET

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