SPORTS

Olympiakos rebounds to avoid early exit from the Greek Cup

lympiakos striker Yiannis Okkas ended his extended scoring drought last night with a precious goal that sent the Piraeus side through to the Greek Cup’s final 16, despite a 3-2 away defeat against Kallithea. Facing a 3-1 deficit midway through the second half – the result was enough to get Kallithea through to the competition’s next round following a 1-0 loss in the draw’s first leg – the first division’s front runner struck back with a spectacular volley from the Cypriot striker after 70 minutes. This marked the end of an equally divided four-goal scoring spree within 11 minutes. Down 1-0 from late in the first half, Olympiakos equalized with a goal from midfielder Pantelis Kafes on 59 minutes. Just three minutes later, Olympiakos keeper Kleopas Giannou fumbled a shot that put the home side 2-1 up but still needing another goal for a better aggregate score. It arrived at the 66th minute when Fanis Gekkas headed in a cross produced from a quick counterattack. Kallithea’s joy, however, was short-lived when Okkas narrowed the deficit for the encounter’s final to 3-2 score. Panathinaikos, missing many regular starters, following coach Zdenek Scasny’s option to experiment, disposed of Ionikos 1-0 away for a 2-0 aggregate score. The game’s sole goal came after 79 minutes from a deflected shot by Sotiris Constantinidis that left Ionikos goalkeeper Beqaj Arian stranded. In the next round, Panathinaikos will meet AEK in the competition’s first major clash for a quarterfinal place. Thessaloniki club PAOK, which has had to battle in the Greek league for a mid-table place, was sent reeling from the Greek Cup by Aegaleo. Its 2-0 win at home, after a scoreless draw in Thessaloniki, provided the latest setback for ailing PAOK this season. The goals for Aegaleo came relatively late, beginning with a diving header from striker Thomas Makris at the 76th minute. He had come on as a substitute. That would have sufficed but midfielder Giorgos Barkoglou sealed his team’s triumph with a solid strike from within the box. In other Greek Cup matches (first leg results in brackets), it was: Aris – Atromitos Athninon, 3-0 (0-5); Kastoria – Pavlos Melas, 4-0 (1-1); Xanthi – Livadiakos, 3-0 (2-1); Panionios – Paniliakos, 1-0 (1-0); Halkidona – Kerkyra, 3-0 (0-2); Apollon Smyrni – Larissa, 2-1 (0-2); OFI – Thyella Patras, 5-1 (1-2); Iraklis – Niki Volos, 5-2 (2-0); Ilisiakos – Irodotos, 3-0 (3-0); Ethnikos – Agr. Asteras, 0-0 (3-2); Aghios Dimitrios – AEK, 1-4 (0-3); Apollon Kalamaria -Panserraikos, 1-1 (2-2); Ptolemaida – Ergotelis, 3-0 (3-1).