SPORTS

Day of antics and surprise

Second-division club Niki Volos produced the most unanticipated result in yesterday’s group of fourth-round Greek Cup games by ousting Cretan first-division team OFI from the competition. Playing at home, the provincial Volos club prevailed 4-3 in a penalty shootout after the encounter’s regular time and extra time had ended at 1-1. In other action, AEK repeated its weekend Greek league triumph over rival Panathinaikos with another 3-0 win, this time away against third-division club Yiannina. The defeat’s magnitude ignited the unrest of Yiannina President Alexis Kouyias, an outspoken and controversial celebrity lawyer, who invaded the pitch during play to protest against the refereeing, which he considered unfair. After being escorted away by police, Kouyias requested, over the Yiannina stadium’s PA system, that club fans depart from the match. Very few paid heed. By the end of the day, the restless club president had turned his attention to his team’s coach. Kouyias cast heavy aspersions on Vassilis Xanthopoulos, prompting his immediate resignation. «I offered my best, but Mr Kouyias’s criticism of both me and the players, following the match, made me make this decision,» Xanthopoulos told the post-game news conference. «I thank the fans and wish the club all the best,» he added. Xanthopoulos also praised AEK’s Portuguese coach, Fernando Santos, for his coaching ability, adding that «it’s good for Greek soccer.» In other fourth-round cup games yesterday, Panionios defeated Olympiakos Volos 2-0, away, to advance to the Greek Cup’s last 16. Aegaleo also won 2-0 at Ilisiakos. First-division club Ionikos scraped through its match against lower-league club Enosi Thrace in a penalty shootout after the game had ended 0-0. Two more fourth-round games are scheduled for today: Veria vs Xanthi and Agrotikos Asteras vs PAOK. The fourth round will be completed between November 8 and 10, with a further nine games. Both of the first division’s perennial giants, Olympiakos and Panathinaikos, play away against Paniliakos and Ergotelis respectively.