SPORTS

Last-gasp goal spears OFI relegation in Cretan derby

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Soccer

OFI managed to stay in the Super League after a memorable play-off on Wednesday in which it was spared relegation one minute from the end of its game with Platanias in Iraklio, in a particularly memorable Cretan derby.

After a goalless draw in the first leg at Hania last Saturday, OFI defeated Platanias 3-2 at home, sending the Hania club to the newly formed Super League 2 division, while preserving its top-flight status after a transitional season for the popular Iraklio team.

The dramatic culmination of the play-off came one minute from the end of time added-on, and four minutes after Platanias had equalized 2-2, as an Adil Nabi free-kick tore the defenders’ wall down the middle and beat Platanias keeper Gott to snatch back the last ticket to next season’s Super League.

The eventful match at the Theodoros Vardinoyiannis Stadium started with OFI earning a controversial penalty that Juan Angel Neira converted on the 11th minute. Tsamouris equalized for Platanias three minutes from the interval.

Substitute Giorgos Giakoumakis restored OFI’s lead but got sent off for celebrating with his shirt off, having already been booked a few minutes earlier. Platanias was also left 10 men a little later, but managed to make it 2-2 on the first minute of injury time with Yiannis Papanikolaou, seemingly sending Platanias back to the Super League.

Yet just as disappointment had settled at the Iraklio stadium, Englishman Nabi turned things around in OFI’s favor with his late free-kick to send waves of joy across eastern Crete at the expense of the western side of the island.

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