Underdog shocks Olympiakos

Defending champion Olympiakos was ousted from the Greek Cup by second-division side PAS Yiannina last night after failing to overcome a 2-0 loss, away, in a first-leg quarterfinal game against the provincial club. It ranks as one of the biggest upsets in the history of Greek soccer. The Piraeus team won 2-1 yesterday, in extra time, to bid farewell to the competition after losing the two-leg quarterfinal 3-2 on aggregate. It took Olympiakos just over an hour to open the scoring. Captain Predrag Djordjevic converted a penalty from the spot in the 61st minute. Haruna Babangida made it 2-0 just 12 minutes later to bring the encounter to a deadlock. But Olympiakos’s scoring stopped there, taking the game into extra time. The visitors stunned the home team eight minutes into the additional 30-minute period when Vangelis Kontogoulidis scored a crucial goal for Yiannina, to narrow Olympiakos’s lead to 2-1. It left Olympiakos requiring two further goals in just over 20 minutes. The home team’s desperation was highlighted by goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis, who joined his team on attack with several minutes of extra time remaining. In other ties, Larissa downed Corfu club Kerkyra 2-0 – with both goals coming from Slovak striker Josef Kozlej – to advance to the semifinals following a scoreless first-leg game. Xanthi also qualified, beating second-division club Ilissiakos 1-0 at home, thanks to a Giorgos Barkoglou strike in the tenth minute of play. Xanthi went into the return leg with a comfortable advantage after winning 2-0 away. In the competition’s remaining quarterfinal, Athens club Panathinaikos hosted PAOK later last night after losing 2-1 in Thessaloniki. In the home-and-away semifinal ties scheduled for February 28 and April 18, Yiannina will play Larissa, while Xanthi will meet the winner of the Panathinaikos-PAOK tie. The cup final is scheduled for May 5 at the Panthessaliko Stadium in the coastal city of Volos, just over 300 kilometers north of Athens.

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