Panathinaikos beat AEK to top Champions League playoff table

By Graham Wood

ATHENS, May 23 (Reuters) - Panathinaikos leapfrogged AEK Athens at the top of the Super League playoff standings with a 3-0 home win over their city rivals at the Apostolos Nikolaidis stadium on Monday.

First-half goals from Finnish midfielder Robin Lod and Sweden striker Marcus Berg, and a late strike by Victor Klonaridis, saw Andrea Stamaccioni's Greens secure a vital win in the third round of games in the playoff competition.

The playoff winners will join Super League champions Olympiakos Piraeus in the Champions League qualifiers.

Monday's victory came against a lethargic AEK, who seemed to be struggling having played their third match in seven days.

AEK, who lifted the Greek Cup last Tuesday with a 2-1 win over Olympiakos, also beat Panionios 1-0 three days ago.

The result saw AEK, who have five points from three matches, slip from first to third at the halfway point in the playoffs, while Panathinaikos and PAOK Salonika, who won 2-0 at Panionios on Monday, lead the way with seven points apiece.

Panionios, who have lost two and drawn one of their three matches, are in last place with one point.

The next round of matches features the return fixtures of Monday's games, with PAOK hosting Panionios and Panathinaikos travelling to the Olympic Stadium to face AEK on Thursday. (Editing by Ken Ferris)

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