The Greek Cup has entered its third round, where top flight teams are coming in, but the switch to two-leg ties this year has diminished the chances of upsets, that were regular in previous seasons. Still, while Olympiakos and Panathinaikos scored easy home wins over lower-division opposition, third-tier Fostiras beat Panionios to set up a very interesting second leg at Nea Smyrni.
Fostiras, from the Athens neighborhood of Tavros, goes by the name “Giant Killer” since the 1960s and 1970s, when it would score unlikely wins against mighty opposition in the top division. Now, as it has just returned to professional soccer by gaining promotion to the third division last summer, it got a chance of reviving memories of the distant past by reaching the third round to face the team placed fourth in the Super League table, Panionios.
The Yellow-and-Blacks took that chance at the first leg at home as they beat their fancied opponents 1-0 on Wednesday afternoon thanks to a 34th minute goal by veteran Ilias Kambas who lobbed the ball over Panionios goalkeeper Costas Peristeridis.
It was 41 years since the last Fostiras win over Panionios, and this one is rendering the return match on December 23 a very appetizing prospect.
Holder Olympiakos had to wait up to the 47th minute before breaking down the defense of second-division Panachaiki at home, but goals by Rafik Djebbour and Costas Mitroglou all but sealed its qualification to the fourth round.
Panathinaikos dismantled third-tier Proodeftiki with a 4-0 score in Athens in a game that was interrupted for about 20 minutes due to torrential rain on Thursday. Bruno Fornaroli scored twice to register his first goals in Greece, while Pape Habib Sow marked his debut with Panathinaikos with a goal, after struggling with injuries for about five months.
In other games Levadiakos beat second-division Pierikos 2-0, PAS Giannina edged out second-tier Panserraikos 1-0, Kerkyra won 2-0 at third-division Tyrnavos, OFI needed a penalty to beat second-division leader Apollon 1-0 and Panthrakikos downed Niki Volou of the second division 2-0.
The other third-round first-leg matches are scheduled to take place in two weeks’ time.