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Greece round-up: Olympiakos champions again

Published: Sunday 25 May 2003, 22.04CET
Olympiakos Piraeus FC claimed the title for a seventh consecutive year with a 5-1 win at Xanthi FC.

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Published: Sunday 25 May 2003, 22.04CET

Greece round-up: Olympiakos champions again

Olympiakos Piraeus FC claimed the title for a seventh consecutive year with a 5-1 win at Xanthi FC.

Olympiakos Piraeus FC claimed the Hellenic National League championship for a record seventh consecutive season as they cruised to a 5-1 win at Xanthi FC.

Advantage restored
Having beaten Panathinaikos FC 3-0 last week to move ahead on head-to-head record, Olympiakos held their nerve to win their 32nd title. Lambros Choutos headed them ahead on four minutes, and although Vanco Sikov equalised 14 minutes later, Choutos quickly restored the visitors' advantage. Stelios Giannakopoulos's goal just before half-time took Olympiakos further ahead, with victory confirmed after the break by Alexios Alexandris and Nery Castillo, ensuring Olympiakos broke their own previous record for consecutive titles, six in the 1950s.

Consolation win
Panathinaikos gained the consolation of a UEFA Champions League berth with a 3-1 win against Akratitos FC. In a match switched to Rhodes in punishment for crowd trouble after that previous defeat to the champions, Miltos Sapanis gave Panathinaikos an 18th-minute lead. Michalis Konstantinou headed the second ten minutes later and although Apostolos Koutsokostas pulled one back soon afterwards, 38-year-old Krzystof Warzycha confirmed the win with an injury-time goal.

Victory for AEK
AEK Athens FC had gone into the weekend still able to clinch the title if they beat Panionios FC and the top two both lost. Although AEK did claim a 4-2 win, third place and Champions League third qualifying round entry two points behind the champions was instead their reward in a game played in Patras following the demolition of the Nikos Goumas stadium prior to the construction of a new arena in time of the 2004 Olympic Games. Arian Belaj scored twice in the first 13 minutes to give Panionios a shock lead, but of Vassilios Lakis, Vassilios Tsartas and Dimitrios Nalitzis ensured AEK led at the break, and Christos Maladenis headed the fourth 16 minutes from time.

UEFA Cup issues decided
However, Panionios, in fifth, gain UEFA Cup entry, along with fourth-placed Greek Cup winners FC PAOK Thessaloniki and Aris Thessaloniki FC, who finished sixth after scoring during injury time through substitute defender Giannis Mallous to beat – and overtake - Iraklis FC 2-1. PAOK ended their season with a 3-2 defeat at PAS Giannina FC, who ensured they avoided automatic relegation, should their 90-point deduction be revoked.

Relegation wait
If it is, Giannina will play-off with the third-placed second division side Apollon Kalamarias, while Ionikos will go down despite beating already-demoted Panahaiki FC 3-0. Should the punishment remain, Ionikos will enter the play-off. Halkidona and Paniliakos have been promoted. Kallithea GS confirmed their survival with a 2-0 win at home to OFI Crete FC, and mid-table pair Proodeftiki FC and Egaleo FC drew 1-1 in the only match without championship, European or relegation issues at stake.

Last updated: 25/05/03 22.26CET

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