Xanthi’s Vance Sikov (l) and Aris striker Dorge Kouemaha rise for the ball in the first leg of a Greek Cup semifinal yesterday. Playing away, Xanthi, one of the league’s most formidable sides, defeated the lowly Thessaloniki club 2-1 and appear set for a place in the May 21 cup final in Patras. The tie’s return leg will be in two weeks. Xanthi opened the scoring in the 31st minute with a powerful shot from striker Levan Maghradze within the box. Pressuring for an equalizer, the home side eventually leveled with a penalty converted by Yiannis Lazanas in the 62nd. Down to 10 men after Kouemaha was sent off seven minutes from time, Aris conceded defeat late in the game when Xanthi, on the counterattack, struck with a goal from striker Vlassis Kazakis. In the other semifinal, AEK hosts Olympiakos for the first leg on April 20.