ATHENS Olympiakos Piraeus clinched a record-extending 43rd Greek Super League title with a 3-0 victory over Veria on Sunday.
Spanish midfielder David Fuster, the club captain, scored in each half before his blocked shot rebounded for Mexico striker Alan Pulido to add a late third goal and seal a straightforward win at a sun-drenched Georgios Karaiskakis stadium.
Olympiakos retained the title with six matches to spare as they have a better head-to-head record against second-placed AEK Athens who are 18 points adrift.
Olympiakos’s 43rd league title, and their 18th in the last 20 seasons, was also their fastest. They had never before sewn up the title as early as February.
The win was the perfect tonic for coach Marco Silva and his players who suffered a disappointing Europa League exit at the last-32 stage on Thursday after losing to Belgian side Anderlecht.
“We’re simply delighted," Silva said. "Olympiakos is the best team without a doubt and to win the title the earliest in the club’s history is something special.
“Our next target is to win another title, the Greek Cup, which will be difficult but we know we can succeed.”
Silva’s team remain on course for a domestic double and face a Greek Cup semi-final first leg tie against PAOK Salonika on Wednesday.
Olympiakos’s Spanish goalkeeper Roberto said: “I’ve won three titles in three seasons and I’m proud and hugely satisfied with the result of all the work we’ve put in.
"Each season our president tries hard to make the team better, to improve the facilities and conditions we work in and I’m just so proud to be part of this great club.”
Silva’s dominant team recorded a club-record 17 league wins in a row in a perfect start to the season, beating the previous mark of 16 achieved by Trond Sollied's 2005/06 team.
Elsewhere, AEK chalked up their second Athens derby win in succession when Ronald Vargas' goal gave Gus Poyet's team a 1-0 victory over Panathinaikos.
AEK, who also defeated Olympiakos 1-0 on Feb. 13, were impressive in front of a packed Olympic Stadium and sealed the points thanks to Venezuela striker Vargas' superb 78th-minute free kick.
Panathinaikos, who are third in the table, were reduced to 10 men in added time when Italian defender Giandomenico Mesto picked up a second caution for an ugly tackle on AEK striker Rafik Djebbour.
PAOK continued their return to form with a 2-0 home win at the Toumba against Asteras Tripolis on Saturday, with Greece midfielder Dimitris Pelkas and Slovakia midfielder Robert Mak on target for Igor Tudor’s team.
The result lifted PAOK up to fourth spot.
(Editing by Clare Fallon)