Aris through to the cup final
Aris reached the Greek Cup final for the second time in four years with a 2-1 win at Atromitos last night. The Thessaloniki team’s away victory gave Aris a 3-1 aggregate. Atromitos, which went into last night’s return leg just days ahead of a crucial encounter in Sunday’s last round of league play that will determine whether the small Athens club will remain in the Super League, fielded a side that was below full strength. Just one place and two points above the Super League’s three-team relegation zone, Atromitos is hosted by Veria, currently second to last and already relegated. Last night, Atromitos was the more impressive side in the first half but was unable to convert its dominance into goal-scoring chances. The experimental lineup fielded by coach Paulo Campos made it harder for Atromitos players to find each other, which assisted Aris’s main objective of keeping a clean sheet. Campos was jeered by some 5,000 fans when, in the second half, he replaced his only striker, Emanuel Perrone, with attacking midfielder Nikos Nikolopoulos. The Thessaloniki side conceded a goal deep into injury time when the cup tie had long been settled. Aris opened the scoring relatively late, in the 76th minute, when Sergio Koke’s feeble shot trickled past goalkeeper Apostolos Androutsos after he failed to find his footing. Vladan Ivic added Aris’s second goal with eight minutes left on the clock by slotting the ball past the keeper from close range after connecting with a Koke cross from the left. Nikolopoulos narrowed to 2-1 with a diving header from a tight angle for his first goal at the club since joining in January. It was also the first goal conceded by Aris in the club’s run to the final this season following five clean sheets. The cup final is scheduled for May 17 at Thessaloniki’s Kaftantzoglio Stadium.