After a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their Round of 16 tie with Super League 1 side Lamia last month, AKFC returned to Grigoris Lamprakis Stadium for the second leg on Tuesday afternoon, and after falling behind 0-2 against the run of play, they would dominate the rest of the match but ultimately saw their comeback effort fall short in a disappointing 1-2 loss that ends their run in the 2022/23 Greek Cup.
AKFC started aggressively and produced two early chances to take the lead. In the 10th minute, Panagiotis Kynigopoulos sliced through two defenders on the edge of the area and slipped the ball through to Nili, who darted to the byline and played a sharp cross in front of goal, but striker Giannis Loukinas was well marked and could not apply a finish. Just two minutes later, it was Kynigopoulos again creating the danger from the right wing, this time sending a cross to the far post for Demethryus whose header struck the crossbar.
But it was Lamia who would soon go in front. In the 34th minute, a set piece was played into the feet of veteran striker Georgios Manousos, who, with his back to goal, skillfully flicked the ball up to himself and turned to volley with his left foot past ‘keeper Athanasios Pantos.
Four minutes later, Lamia doubled the advantage on the counter-attack, as Spiros Tsiloulis got to the byline on the left side and squared the ball for Rubén Martínez who made the near post run and finished.
It was a sudden setback, but AKFC were undeterred and they would pull one back just before half-time. In the 41st minute, Kynigopoulos whipped a dangerous cross into the box, and it was cleared away only as far as Nili, who took it out of the air with a sweetly-struck volley to bring AKFC back into the match.
After the break, AKFC took control of the ball, keeping more than 65% possession and pinning the visitors back for long stretches.
In the 52nd minute, Stathis Vasiloudis found Nili in the box with a good look at goal, but he gave up the chance to shoot and squared the ball for a better angle, only to see the ball cleared away.
In the 72nd minute, AKFC appeared to have the equalizer they deserved, as left-back Nikos Kainourgios firmly headed a free-kick into the net, only to see the offside flag go up, with replays showing that Kainourgios may have been mere centimeters beyond the last defender.
In the 82nd minute, Demethryus, who was lively throughout, juked through the defense and fired a shot that took a deflect on its way to goal but was stopped by the ‘keeper.
Despite relentless pressure to the end, AKFC could not find the breakthrough, and Lamia, having taken their own two chances of the match, would advance to the quarterfinals of the competition.
Athens Kallithea (4-3-3): Pantos, Vasiloudis, Koltsidas, Vlachos, Kainourgios (80’ Rentzas), Bouloulis (80’ Tsidonis), Santana (58’ Laskaris), Nili, Demethryus, Loukinas (80’ Doumtsis), Kynigopoulos