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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 6 February 2016
SPORT 24 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 6 FEBRUARY 2016 Tudor in precarious position after PAOK’s home draw Igor Tudor's position on the PAOK bench is under serious threat after the Thessaloniki giant stumbled at home with struggling Atromitos, while Olympiakos, AEK and Panathinaikos scored three goals each to continue winning. PAOK drew 1-1 with Atromitos at Toumba on Saturday after Nikos Lazaridis equalised Robert Mak's goal for PAOK. The poor results in the last few weeks and the clash between Tudor and PAOK superstar Dimitar Berbatov have put the Croat manager on the spot. Fourth-placed PAOK is now eight points behind second AEK and four behind Panathinaikos. AEK saw off visiting Veria 3-nil via goals by Ronald Vargas, Christos Aravidis and Petros Mantalos. Panathinaikos registered its third consecutive win on the road, outscoring host Platanias 3-2 at Hania on Sunday. Nikos Kaltsas scored a brace and Viktor Klonaridis added the third for the Greens, while Fanouris Goundoulakis and Leonardo Ramos scored for Platanias. For Olympiakos it was business as usual as the Reds recorded their 19th win in 20 games, beating host PAS Giannina 3-nil. Costas Fortounis scored twice for Olympiakos to get to a chart-topping 15 goals in the Super League this season, and Jimmy Durmaz added the third. The champions need five more wins in the 10 remaining games to win the title mathematically. In other weekend games Xanthi downed Iraklis 2-nil at home, Panetolikos sank bottom Kalloni Lesvou further with a 1-nil home win, Panionios needed a late penalty kick to defeat relegationthreatened Panthrakikos 1-nil away, and Asteras, still without a manager, overcame Levadiakos 2-nil in Tripoli. DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM South captain Michael Eager (L) and coach Chris Taylor (R) holding aloft the 2015 Community Shield. Bentleigh hosts South in season curtain-raiser GEORGE STOGIANNOU The two best NPL teams from last season, current NPL champion Bentleigh Greens and current Dockerty Cup holder South Melbourne, will battle it out for the first piece of silverware on offer in 2016, the FFV Community Shield, at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex in Cheltenham, this Friday 12 February at 7.30 pm. The season curtain-raiser pits two teams which have developed a close rivalry over recent seasons. They last met in last season's NPL Grand Final, which the Greens won 3-1 in extra time after both teams were even after 90 minutes. Prior to the grand final, the head-to-head record over the last 11 meetings shows honours just slightly in favour of the Greens, with a 5-4 win record and two draws. South are the current holders of the FFV Community Shield, having beaten another great rival, the Melbourne Knights, 2-1 last season. When asked about the significance of Friday's match with the Greens, South coach Chris Taylor told Neos Kosmos: "There's obviously a trophy at stake and that adds spice to it. We know Bentleigh's a very good team. They proved it last year. Look, I think it's a great start for the season for us in that we get a good hard hit out. Obviously with a trophy at stake we take it very, very seriously. “But as I've been saying for the last few seasons, the season's based on the whole season, and not just a one-off game. While it's great to be in the limelight early in the season, the significance for us is to make sure we're right for the season and fire up right from the very start and start winning games." Taylor expects an exciting spectacle for the fans on Friday evening. "I think it'll be a good game. Both teams play football a little bit different in the styles. I expect it to be a good one - a high-scoring game with lots of goal mouth action." Igor Tudor Mantarakis was a Hellas legend South Melbourne club legend Takis Mantarakis, who passed away at the age of 81, was buried last Monday. Takis Mantarakis was a South Melbourne Hellas legend, representing the club for nearly a decade in the 1960s and winning many honours along the way. He is a distinguished member of our Team of the Century and Hall of Fame. Takis Mantarakis featured for Panathinaikos in Greece and played there alongside another future South Melbourne player (and coach) in Jim Pyrgolios. In 1961, he was persuaded by his great friend Antonis (Tony) Hatzie- leftheriou to join him in Australia to play for South Melbourne Hellas. Source: SMFC Greek soccer chief laments ‘death of soccer city’ as another club folds The crisis engulfing Greek soccer has claimed another victim as a second-tier club went into administration, mirroring wider financial troubles and leaving a hotbed of the domestic game without a professional team for the first time. Based in Iraklio, the country's Takis Mantarakis with Antonis Hatzieleftheriou. fourth-largest city and Crete's capital, Ergotelis joined local rival OFI in financial meltdown - two small cogs in an economic machine that has misfired badly since a national debt crisis erupted in 2009. "Soccer acts as a mirror of society," Hellenic Football Federation president Giorgos Girtzikis told Reuters. "Certainly the economic crisis continues to affect all clubs, and some have managed to struggle through it, some not." Since Ergotelis declared insolvency on 20 January, local newspapers and broadcasters have lamented the "death of a soccer city". They accuse both it and former top division side OFI, relegated to the amateur leagues last March with unmanageable debts, of excessive ambition in striving to compete financially with bigger clubs. Girtzikis said he could not comment on how they handled their affairs, but noted all clubs were obliged to adhere to new financial fair play regulations that came into effect across Europe last season. "It's tragic because Iraklio is a city that loves its soccer," he said. Greek soccer has been beset by problems, particularly since the start of the financial crisis, with frequent violence in and around stadiums and corruption investigations casting a huge shadow. The top-tier Super League was suspended three times last season due to violence and rioting at matches, and more than 80 coaches, players and officials were charged in a match-fixing scandal in 2011. PART OF HISTORY Ergotelis, which has yet to announce if it will re-form in a lower league, was once a mainstay of the top division. It ruffled nationalist feathers in 1966 by hosting a concert by songwriter and composer Mikis Theodorakis, a leading critic of the right-wing military junta of 1967-1974. Neighbour OFI, more successful on the pitch in recent years, was relegated after failing to pay players and losing its high-profile coach, Italian World Cup winner Gennaro Gattuso. A repeat of that scenario became less likely this week when the Super League said an emergency relief fund for players owed wages by struggling clubs would be activated in coming weeks. Greece's champions will contribute €25,000 per season to the fund, clubs finishing in the European places €15,000 each and other top tier sides €10,000.
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