Just like 12 months ago, Panathinaikos got the better of Olympiakos in the quarterfinals of the Greek Cup and is the favorite to retain the trophy having eliminated its archrival away from home with a 70-64 score on Thursday. The semifinals will also see PAOK, Aris, and a second-tier surprise package, Faros Keratsiniou.
In what was the first competitive games of the two Euroleague challengers this season, Panathinaikos appeared better prepared and fresher than Olympiakos, that was also affected by the fact that the game was behind closed doors at the Peace and Friendship Stadium.
The match was nervous, being a knockout encounter at the very start of the season, but after a flat first three quarters (26-26 at half-time and 44-44 after Q3), Panathinaikos shut the Reds out for more than six minutes to score 15 unanswered points (59-44) and then stroll its way to the semifinals.
After five consecutive losses to Olympiakos in the league last year, this win for the revamped Greens will serve to boost their morale, given that in 10 days’ time they also host Olympiakos for the league.
Earlier on Thursday, A2-division new boys Faros Keratsiniou added a fourth top-flight scalp to their collection this season, eliminating Kifissia in overtime with a 61-59 score at home.
On Wednesday PAOK edged out AGO Rethymnou 73-67 in Thessaloniki, while across town Aris saw off AEK 64-61 in a very close game that was stopped for 50 minutes as Aris’s Jamelle Hagins brought down one of the baskets. Literally!