SPORTS

Semifinal lead for Olympiakos and PAOK

Olympiakos and PAOK have scored home wins and taken the upper hand in the semifinals of the Greek Cup after the first-leg games this week.

Olympiakos thrashed visiting Panthrakikos 6-2 thanks to four goals within seven minutes at the start of the second half.

In a game of some spectacular goals at the Karaiskakis Stadium on Thursday, the Reds led 2-0 from the 11th minute through a Christos Melissis own goal and an Ariel Ibagaza strike.

Panthrakikos regrouped and equalized within 20 minutes, goals coming from Christos Tzanis and Adrian Lucero for a 2-2 half-time score, that gave little away of what was to follow.

The floodgates opened in the second half as Olympiakos scored four times from the 48th to the 55th minute, twice through Costas Mitroglou, as well as through Yiannis Fetfatzidis and David Fuster. Ibagaza said after the game that Fetfatzidis’s goal was Lionel Messi-like!

On Wednesday PAOK needed a late Dimitris Salpgidis goal with his chest from close range to beat Asteras Tripolis 2-1 in Thessaloniki, in an eventful match.

Stefanos Athanasiadis gave PAOK a first-half lead, but in the second half Asteras equalized in much-debated fashion. Ximo Navarro collected the ball from a poor clearance by Alexis Apostolopoulos to slot the ball home, only to see the linesman flag it offside. The referee had reportedly blown his whistle before Navarro sent the ball in, but after consulting with his assistant he decided the goal stood as the ball had come to Navarro from an opponent. PAOK protested that the whistle was blown before the goal, but the referee would not change his mind for a second time.

Asteras missed several chances thereafter to snatch victory at Toumba, but eventually Salpigidis calmed PAOK’s nerves in the end.

The return legs will be played in the weekend of April 27-28.