PAOK and Panetolikos suffer Cup upsets

The start of the new group stage of the Greek Cup in midweek produced a number of upsets that could prove fateful for a number of Super League teams that have either underestimated the competition or their minor opponents.

One such upset victim was last year’s finalist PAOK which on Thursday suffered a 1-0 loss to second-division Apollon Kalamarias, in a game switched from Kalamaria to Thessaloniki’s Kaftanzoglio Stadium to accommodate the PAOK supporters.

A spectacular Christos Efstathiou strike gave Apollon all three points at the start of the half-round-robin pool in which teams face each other only once, either at home or away. In the same group PAS Giannina beat Kerkyra 1-0.

The top two of each pool of four teams advance to the next round, and that should be a concern for Panetolikos now that it lost on Thursday to second-division Hania 1-0 at home. This group also involves cup holder Panathinaikos, who saw off host Olympiakos Volou, also of the second-division, with a 1-0 score courtesy of a long-range effort by Nigerian Abdul Ajagun.

AEK Athens, now in the second tier, faced a Super League side for the first time since its relegation from the top flight almost a year-and-a-half ago, and drew 0-0 at Panthrakikos on Wednesday, while in the group’s other match Atromitos defeated Iraklis Psahnon 1-0 away, watched by its new manager, Ricardo Sa Pinto.

Olympiakos needed an own goal by Panahaiki to beat its second-division host 1-0 in Patra, while Panionios was held to a goalless draw by Football League side Fostiras at home.

The round’s other results were: Xanthi 1 Niki Volou 0, Zakynthos 1 OFI Crete 1, Platanias 3 Ethnikos Serron 1, Iraklis Thessalonikis 1 Levadiakos 1, Veria 4 Ermionida 1, Apollon Smyrnis 2 Ergotelis 2, Kalloni 1 Tyrnavos 1 and Aiginiakos 1 Asteras Tripolis 4.

The second round of group games is scheduled for October 28-30.