TREMENDOUS Comeback Sends Panathinaikos to the Next Round

-- TREMENDOUS Comeback Sends Panathinaikos to the Next Round --
 

GREEK SOCCER CUP - GROUP STAGE (MATCHDAY 3)

Date Home Team Score Away Team
15-Dec-16 OFI 2 - 1 Iraklis
15-Dec-16 Apollon Smyrnis 3 - 4 Panathinaikos

Panathinaikos pulled off a tremendous comeback against Apollon Smyrnis and progressed to the next round of the Greek Cup. The Prasini defeated Apollon Smyrnis 3-4 after falling behind 0-2 in the first half. OFI won the group after their 2-1 victory over Iraklis. 

It was a thrilling end in Group C as OFI and Panathinaikos (who were 3rd and 4th before the day started) earned the two tickets to the knockout stages. OFI focussed their efforts on their game against Iraklis without worrying about what was going on in Rizoupoli where Apollon Smyrnis hosted Panathinaikos. Before the day, Iraklis led the group with 4 points, Apollon Smyrnis was in second with 3 points, OFI was in third with three points, and Panathinaikos sat last with 1 points. Panathinaikos not only needed a win against Apollon Smyrnis, but also needed the match between OFI and Iraklis to produce a winner (no draw) to have hopes of progressing to the next round. 

Things got off to a horrendous start for Panathinaikos as two defensive blunders (Ivanov and Chouchoumis) left them behind 2-0 going into the break. The frustration was evident in the Panathinaikos supporters as many of them left the stadium at halftime. Meanwhile in Crete, OFI took a 1-0 lead against Iraklis with Ogboe’s goal.

In the second half, Panathinaikos turned things around. Berg pulled one back in the 54th minute and the equalizer came seven minutes later with M’poku’s goal from inside the penalty area. The Prasini clearly had the momentum in the match and it did not take long for Panathinaikos to take the lead. In the 65th minute, Berg provided the assist to Leto who thumped the ball into the back of the net, giving his side the 2-3 lead. As OFI took a 2-0 lead against Iraklis, Panathinaikos scored their fourth goal with help from Apollon Smyrnis’ defender Dasios, who turned the ball into his own net.

With the current results, OFI sat in first place with 6 points while Panathinaikos and Iraklis sat on four points each. Panathinaikos had the advantage for second place due to their higher “goals forced” total in comparison to Iraklis. (After head to head results-Panathinaikos and Iraklis drew on matchday one-goals scored was the next tie breaker and NOT goal differential).

Seconds after Panathinaikos’ fourth goal, things got interesting in Rizoupoli when the Trifylli were left with 10 men after Reis was sent off with a second yellow for committing a penalty. From the spot, Siatravanis brought Apollon back within one goal. A point for the Football League side would be enough for them to go through and they pinned Panathinaikos in their half in search for an equalizer. However, they could not score their fourth goal as the visitors held onto the 3-4 victory and with OFI’s win against Iraklis (2-1), finished second in group C.

The tremendous comeback keeps Panathinaikos alive in the Cup as they go into Tuesday’s draw unseeded, with the likes of Olympiacos, PAOK, and AEK as possible opponents. OFI will be seeded for the draw after winning the group with six points.


HIGHLIGHTS: APOLLON SMYRNIS - PANATHINAIKOS

 
Image Source: sdna.gr
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