Larissa survives late onslaught

Visiting Larissa survived a late surge by Corfu soccer club Kerkyra to take home a scoreless draw in a Greek Cup first-leg quarterfinal yesterday that completed the round’s first of two stages. In preceding first-leg games, second-division team PAS Yiannina defeated Olympiakos 2-0 to give the Super League’s current front-runner and cup defending champion something to worry about ahead of their return leg on January 31, when all four deciders will be staged. In the round’s main game, Thessaloniki team PAOK holds a 2-1 advantage over Panathinaikos ahead of their second match in Athens. Ilissiakos will travel to Xanthi with the highly unlikely task of overcoming a 2-0 home defeat in the first leg. It was a lackluster affair between host Kerkyra and Larissa last night. But, with less than five minutes remaining, the Corfu team pounded the visitor’s defense line to no avail. In other cup developments, a final decision was reached yesterday to hold the cup final, scheduled for May 5, at the Panthessaliko Stadium in the coastal city of Volos, just over 300 kilometers north of Athens. Just weeks ago, police authorities had said they could not guarantee a trouble-free cup final unless certain infrastructure revisions were made to the soccer stadium, originally constructed for the 2004 Olympics. The police demands included barriers in the stands to keep rival fans apart. Greek soccer’s federation chief, Vassilis Gagatsis, and local authorities in Volos agreed yesterday to proceed with the necessary work for the cup final to be staged at the provincial city’s stadium. Its cost was estimated at 40,000 euros. Yesterday’s meeting, held in Volos, was not attended by representatives of Greek Olympic Properties, the venue’s managing agency. Gagatsis said the country’s soccer federation would cover approximately 30,000 euros of the project’s cost while local authorities would take care of the remainder.

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