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Big Four make it to Greek Cup semis after 70 years

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Soccer

Greek soccer’s Big Four have all made it to the semifinals of the Greek Cup, although PAOK and Olympiakos wobbled on their way through on Thursday. This is the first time in 70 years that Panathinaikos, Olympiakos, AEK and PAOK have constituted the last four of the Cup, and only the second overall.

PAOK had beaten Xanthi 2-1 away in the first leg of the quarterfinals, but playing at home it came close to elimination. Xanthi led 1-0 through the league’s joint top scorer Hamza Younes, and pushed for a second goal despite being left with 10 men. Eventually PAOK survived to march on thanks to the away goals rule.

Olympiakos had drawn 0-0 at home with Atromitos and on Thursday at Peristeri it found itself trailing to an Abiola Dauda goal early in the second half, that appeared to be from an offside position.

The introduction of Olympiakos captain Costas Fortounis in the game turned things around though, as the Reds won 2-1 courtesy of goals by Alaixys Romao and Fortounis before being reduced to 10 men in the last few minutes.

On Wednesday AEK thrashed 10-man Platanias 3-0, after the goalless draw in the first leg, having Lazaros Christodoulopoulos, Sergio Araujo and Jacob Johansson to thank for their goals. However it has once again lost defender Dmytro Chygrysnkiy due to injury for the next month. He was operated on Thursday.

Panathinaikos had beaten Asteras 4-0 in the home leg and put the cherry on top on Wednesday winning again, this time 1-0 at Tripoli through a Nikos Marinakis goal in injury time.

The draw for the semifinals is expected to take place on March 17.

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