SPORTS

No shortage of surprise results in the Greek Cup

Knockout cup play is designed to provide a platform for surprise results, and there was no shortage of unanticipated outcomes in the Greek Cup’s fourth round of play – with four of the 16-team Super League’s clubs ousted by lower-division rivals. Two of these victims fell last night, on the concluding day of the fourth round of play, spread over a series of dates. Niki Volos, rock bottom in the second division, beat first-division Thessaloniki club Aris 2-0 in extra time. Aris was reduced to 10 men just before the expiration of regular time when defender Avraam Papadopoulos was shown a second yellow card for intentionally scoring with the use of both hands. Niki Volos took full advantage of its opponent’s handicap to score twice in extra time and sealed its place in the fifth round, where the Greek Cup’s 16 survivors will fight for quarterfinal berths. Also yesterday, Super League high-flyer Aegaleo, currently fifth in the standings, was eliminated by the second division’s PAS Ioannina, 2-0. The provincial team from northwestern Greece was led to its win by talented 25-year-old striker Giorgos Saitiotis, the second division’s top scorer, who struck both times – in the seventh and 80th minutes – for his side’s cup triumph. PAS Ioannina, which rose from the third division last season, currently lies fourth in the second division, a point behind third-place Kallithea, and is an early candidate for promotion to the first division. The top three teams get promoted. On previous days, the top division’s third-place AEK was stunned by Haidari, 5-4, in a penalty shootout following a scoreless draw. Also, the Super League’s mid-table Atromitos fell victim to Ilissiakos, 5-3, in a penalty shootout after the extra-time period failed to unlock the contest’s 1-1 score. Interestingly, three of the four top-league losers, AEK, Aegaleo and Atromitos, are currently placed among the top eight clubs in the first division. The Super League’s 16 teams were granted automatic entry into the Greek Cup in the fourth round. The draw for the fifth round of play takes place today.