PAOK move into last four of Greek Cup
The first leg scoreline did not leave Lamia much of a chance to turn things around, and although they missed a penalty and hit the woodwork, PAOK rubber-stamped their place in the semi-finals of the cup following a 1-1 draw in Fthiotida which proved to be a useful test for the coaching team who introduced several new faces.
PAOK traveled to Fthiotida and made some wholesale changes. The coaching team gave starting berths to Paschalakis , Baba , Kagawa , Lyratzis , Ninua and Swiderski , while Ingason returned after missing the previous two matches through suspension.
Despite the much-changed lineup, the Double-headed Eagle were the dominant side from the start of the match and immediately began to test home goalkeeper Theodoropoulos’ to try and open the scoring.
After a couple of warning shots from Swiderski and Ninua , the Georgian put PAOK ahead in the 14th minute. Baba fed Tzolis , who surged to the byline and crossed for Kagawa. The Japanese midfielder then teed up Ninua , who scored with a clinical side-footed finish to make it 1-0 to the visitors.
Lamia tried to respond quickly but Paschalakis made a double-save two minutes later to deny the hosts. Both teams continued to try and play good football and that resulted in the match having a good tempo, but chances remained at a premium with both defences doing well.
After 43 minutes Swiderski raced into the penalty area and controlled a long ball, but was then shoved by Lamiadefender James, and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Schwab stepped up to take the kick but his effort was too close to Theodoropoulos who dived low to parry the ball. PAOK could still have scored from the rebound as the ball slipped from the ‘keeper’s grasp, but Murg lashed his shot from an acute angle narrowly over the crossbar.
In the second half, PAOK missed another great chance to score a second goal. Ninua sent over a precise corner, and Michailidis rose above everyone to meet it, but his header hit the crossbar and bounced to safety.
After 52 minutes Lamia found an equalizer to boost their hopes slightly, with James heading home following a corner to make it 1-1.
Theodoropoulos made another great save in the 66th minute to deny Lyratzis’ goal-bound shot., and after that the coaching team made a flurry of changes, bringing on Lamprou , El Kaddouri , Tsingaras , Koutsias and Crespo. PAOK battled hard until the final whistle to try and get a winning goal but it was not forthcoming. Lamprou wasted the best chance, failing to convert in the 87th minute after being sent clean through on goal by Swiderski’s pass.
It mattered not, however, as the Double-headed Eagle won the tie comfortably 6-3 on aggregate and booked their place in the Greek Cup semi-finals.
Λαμία: Theodoropoulos, James, Vyntra, Providakis, Saramantas, Bjarnason (75’ Bpouloulis), Guga, Ghazaryan (46’ Kostikas), Piti, Romanic (46’ Stamoulis), Vasilakakis.