PAOK and AEK look set to renew their date in another Greek Cup final, the third in a row for the pair, as they have taken a clear advantage from their home games for the semiifnals of this year’s tournament.
On Wednesday they both won 2-0, PAOK downing Asteras Tripolis in Thessaloniki and AEK defeating Lamia in Athens.
PAOK, the near certain league champion, scored an early goal with Leo Matos (who appeared to set off from an offside position), but its performance in front of a capacity crowd at Toumba was far from convincing against a spirited Asteras.
Eventually the host held on at the back, and when Matias Iglesias saw his second yellow card to leave the visitor with 10, Matos performed a moment of magic trying a spectacular sideways volley that screamed across the Asteras goal and into the net for 2-0.
AEK pleased its 25,000 fans with a decent second-half performance that has made it a favorite for one more Cup final appearance.
In the first half the game was particularly quiet, with the only highlight being the Petros Mantalos shot that met the crossbar of visiting Lamia.
Ezequiel Ponce broke the deadlock for AEK on the 63rd minute, heading the ball into the net from a Mantalos cross, and Nenad Krsticic turned in from close range a low cross by Viktor Klonaridis a few seconds into the time added on.
The return games at Tripoli and Lamia are scheduled for April 24.