Xanthi upsets 10-man Panathinaikos in Cup

Xanthi dumped holder Panathinaikos out of the Greek Cup on Thursday, to leave Olympiakos as the big favorite for the tournament that will enter its quarterfinal phase with the draw on Friday. Notably, the lineup of the last eight includes four teams from the second division.

Panathinaikos had snatched a 1-1 draw at Xanthi in the first leg, but was outplayed in Athens throughout the second leg. When David Mendes left the Greens with 10 men at the hour mark Xanthi upped its pressure and eventually scored the game’s only goal through Thodoris Vasilakakis two minutes from the end, to win 1-0.

Olympiakos had no problems with lowly Tyrnavos, winning 8-0 in Piraeus on Wednesday to advance on an 11-0 aggregate score. Jimmy Durmaz scored a hat-trick, Luka Milivojevic added a brace and Dimitris Diamantakos, Andreas Bouchalakis and David Fuster scored one each, on Argentine Franco Jara’s debut for the Reds.

Panionios grabbed a 1-1 draw at Veria to advance on a 3-2 aggregate score, and cash-strapped OFI completed a 5-0 aggregate victory over Panthrakikos with a 1-0 win in Iraklio on Tuesday.

Friday’s draw will also feature AEK and three other second division teams that managed to overcome top-flight opposition over two legs: AEK beat Kerkyra 2-0 on Thursday after drawing 1-1 on Corfu, Hania cancelled out PAS Giannina’s 2-1 win on Crete by winning with the same score away from home and then triumphing in the shootout, Iraklis Thessalonikis upset Asteras Tripolis with a 1-0 win in the Peloponnese, and Apollon Smyrnis trounced host Levadiakos 4-1 at Livadia.

It will be very interesting indeed if Olympiakos draws AEK in the Cup, to relive past contests between two of the country’s giants.