Panserraikos scored the upset of the season in the Greek Cup eliminating powerhouse Panathinaikos on Wednesday to reach the semi final of the knock-out tournament. PAOK were also eliminated in a typically controversial match, after having 2 men sent off against Olympiakos in Athens. The reds triumphed 2-1 thanks to an extra time goal.
Panserraikos 3 (2-3 on agg.)
After a goalless draw in the first leg in February, Panserraikos produced an impressive performance at the Olympic Stadium to win 3-2 and set-up a semi final showdown with AEK at the expense of the team that is bidding for a spot in the Champions League quarterfinals.
Deniz Baykara scored the first goal for Panserraikos in the 24th minute, giving the visitors an unlikely lead with a marvellous solo effort inside the box.
Panathinaikos then had their share of bad luck, twice hitting the upright. Lazaros Christodoulopoulos hit the left post of the Panserraikos goal in the 37th minute and Gabriel struck the same post three minutes later.
Nastja Ceh then converted a 56th minute penalty to make it 2-0 after Loukas Vintra had upended Christos Pipinis.
In a counter-attack at the 71st minute Sotiris Constantinidis offered a sitter to Ceh who made it 3-0 for Panserraikos.
Christodoulopoulos pulled one back at the 75th minute with a direct free-kick and added his second goal at the second minute of injury time.
The very low crowd of less than 5000 Panathinaikos fans gave a warm round of applause to the Serres side.
Coach Henk ten Cate was in less than stellar mood after the game, telling the press, “I can’t say that the players didn’t try, but we had a childish defence and missed many chances.
“Now we have to work on our self-esteem because we have another game on Saturday and, of course, the very important for us Champions League tie [against Villarreal] on Tuesday.
“As the team’s coach the responsibility belongs to me.”
The Dutchman moved on to discuss individuals – some of whom he was less than pleased with.
“The performance of Lazaros Christodoulopoulos was a bright light on a very dark night,” he continued.
“The ups and downs in our performances are a matter of quality and concentration. We have first to work on our concentration and later improve our quality.
“This is not the first time something like this has happened against a weaker club and we probably need hard work and some people [need] to change.”
Panserraikos will face AEK in the home-and-away semi finals.
Asteras Tripolis 1
Panionios 0 (2-0 on agg.)
Asteras Tripolis also reached the Greek Cup semi finals, beating Panionios 1-0 for the second time, winning the tie 2-0 on aggregate.
The result meant that the Peloponnesian side qualified to he semi finals of the Greek Cup for the first time in their history.
Adrian Bastia was on target for Asteras in the 35th minute following a through ball by fellow Argentine Lucio Filomeno.
Vangelis Kaounos missed a glorious chance to make it 2-0 in the 68th minute after an Asteras counterattack as Yiannis Kontoes saved Panionios right on the line.
Panionios missed a couple of decent chances in the second half through Luis Carlos Lourenco and Michael Delura but the Nea Smyrni club never got to break the locals’ defence.
PAOK 0 (2-1 on agg.)
In the semi finals Asteras Tripolis will face holders Olympiakos who remain on course for a third successive league and cup double after beating PAOK 2-0 after extra-time.
Trailing 1-0 from the first leg in Thessaloniki, Olympiakos dominated the final statistics recording 24 shots to four but they were made to work hard to break PAOK down.
The breakthrough finally came a minute after the break through their Brazilian striker Diogo.
PAOK were forced to play with nine players after defender Pablo Contreras and midfielder Vladan Ivic were shown second yellow cards in the 74th and 79th minute respectively, decisions that the Thessalonika club strongly protested to the referee.
The winner came in the second period, in the 109th minute, when English striker Matt Derbyshire rose above the defence to head home after Luciano Galletti had struck an awkward bouncing cross from the right.
The semi-finals of the Greek Cup are played over two legs.