Provincial Larissa upsets Panathinaikos

VOLOS (AP) – Henry Antchouet came off the bench to score a late goal on Saturday and help Larissa beat Panathinaikos 2-1 in the Greek Cup final. Larissa, which won its first Greek Cup in 22 years, still faces a relegation battle in the Greek league. In the final round next Sunday, the team plays Apollon. Fireworks lit up the sky as captain Nikos Dabizas lifted the trophy in front of 10,000 ecstatic Larissa supporters. «It’s just fantastic. I’m here with my family – what a feeling,» said Dabizas, a former Newcastle defender. Jozef Kozley had put Larissa ahead in the third minute, but Dimitris Papadopoulos equalized from the penalty spot in the 43rd. Larissa’s victory earned the team from central Greece a spot in the UEFA Cup alongside Panathinaikos, which has secured third place in the Greek league. Heavy security measures, involving more than 2,000 police officers, were imposed in and around the Panthessalikon Stadium, built for the 2004 Olympics. Larissa enjoyed a superb start, with Kozley heading in the early goal off a free kick by Giorgos Fotakis. Panathinaikos, charging forward, squandered a major scoring opportunity in the 32nd when Vangelis Mantzios met a cross by Andreas Ivanschitz, but his low drive forced a diving save by goalkeeper Stefanos Kotsolis. Papadopoulos leveled for Panathinaikos after gaining a penalty and scoring from the spot. In the 72nd, Andrea Nilsson missed a good scoring chance for the Athens club when his blistering shot from the edge of the box went wide. Ten minutes later, Antchouet, who replaced Kozley in the 59th, received a deep pass from Fotakis, outsprinted two defenders and beat goalkeeper Pierre Ebede with a powerful right drive. Late in the game, Mantzios fumbled a chance to extend the game, missing an open goal, one meter off the line. «We all feel terrible. We have done nothing this year – not in the cup, not in the league and not in Europe,» Ebede said. Larissa won its first Greek Cup in 1985 after beating PAOK Thessaloniki 2-0.