Cash-strapped OFI triumphs in Cup

Greek Cup favorites gained the upper hand after the first-leg games for the round of 16 in midweek, but the most impressive result came on Thursday as a depleted and cash-strapped OFI somehow managed to trounce host Panthrakikos at Komotini.

OFI had to spend an extra day in Thrace as the match with Panthrakikos had been scheduled for Wednesday, but due to the water-logged pitch at Komotini the match was rescheduled for Thursday. Despite having a squad of just 14 players, including some who have already stated their intent to leave the club due to its debts to them, OFI triumphed 4-0 over a Panthrakikos B-side as the Thrace club has the league as its absolute priority.

The future remains bleak for financially challenged OFI, and although it appears that its Saturday game with Olympiakos will take place after all at Iraklio, it is by no means certain that the Cretan club will afford to continue in any of the two domestic competitions.

Holder Panathinaikos snatched a 1-1 draw at Xanthi on Wednesday as Marcus Berg equalized three minutes from the end Adrian Lucero’s first-half goal.

Champion Olympiakos had no problems at second-division Tyrnavos, that plays its home games at Larissa. The Reds won 3-0 through two goals by Jorge Benitez and one from Luka Milivojevic, but the big news from this game was the return of Nigerian striker Michael Olaitan as a substitute for Olympiakos, some 11 months after his collapse on the pitch.

Second-division leader AEK drew 1-1 at Kerkyra and is now close to returning to the cup quarterfinals after four years.

In other games, PAS Giannina won 2-1 at Hania, Iraklis Thessalonikis drew 1-1 with Asteras Tripolis, Apollon Smyrnis and Levadiakos registered the same score, while Panionios defeated Veria 2-1.

All second-leg matches will take place next week.