SPORTS

Olympiakos and Xanthi to contest Cup final

Olympiakos and Xanthi have reached the final of the Greek Cup even though they both failed to beat their second-division opposition at the second-leg games they hosted on Wednesday.

Recently crowned champion Olympiakos is one step from completing the double as it advanced to the final with a 4-1 aggregate score over Apollon Smyrnis of the Football League. After its 3-0 win away Olympiakos drew 1-1 at home with a rather disappointing performance at the Karaiskakis Stadium.

Apollon snatched a first-half lead through Spaniard Igor Angulo. The Reds raised their game somewhat in the second half – amid jeers by their fans – to equalize via Jorge Benitez six minutes from time and avoid an embarrassing defeat. They also complained about a goal four minutes earlier that apparently should not have been disallowed for offside.

At the start of the game Olympiakos fans bore at least four banners against Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Alternate Minister for Sports Stavros Kontonis for allegedly supporting the judicial proceedings investigating Olympiakos president Vangelis Marinakis in relation to his possible involvement in an alleged criminal organization pestering Greek soccer. Press reports on Thursday suggested Marinakis will quit the Olympiakos presidency while he is being investigated.

Xanthi reached the Cup final for the first time in its history with a 1-0 aggregate win over Iraklis Thessalonikis as the first-leg goal by Silva Cleyton was enough to separate the two sides.

Iraklis tried hard to turn the tables in the second leg but it was left with 10 men for the last 30 minutes of the game at Xanthi due to the dismissal of Diego Romano and could not escape a goalless draw that saw the Thrace club through.

The final will take place in May (on 16 or 23) at the Olympic Stadium of Athens.