SOCCER

Panetolikos stays up at the expense of Xanthi

panetolikos-stays-up-at-the-expense-of-xanthi

Panetolikos survived the relegation playoffs and stayed in the Super League, while Xanthi will have to wait for one more season to return to the top flight.

After Ionikos Nikeas topped the Super League 2 playoffs to earn automatic promotion to the Super League, runner-up Xanthi faced a home-and-away playoff with Panetolikos that had finished second-bottom in the top division.

Last Wednesday Xanthi hosted Panetolikos and won the first leg 2-1 at Pigadia. Panetolikos went ahead with Nikos Vergos, but the host came back to win the match through goals by Patrick Ebert and Beka Mikeltadze.

Coached by legendary Euro 2004 winner Trai Dellas, Panetolikos needed a single goal in the return leg at Agrinio on Sunday to stay up and had to wait up to the 82nd minute.

That was when Xanthi Thanassis Papazoglou handled the ball inside the box conceding a penalty that Vergos converted to the delirious celebrations of the home team.

Panetolikos won the match 1-0 and the playoff on the away goals rule (2-2 on aggregate) to preserve its Super League status for another seassn.