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02/07/2020 - 00:08

OFI fought until the end (video)

Olympiakos - OFI Crete 2-1

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Olympiacos overcame a determined OFI Crete at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Piraeus on Wednesday as two goals from Ahmed Hassan gave Pedro Martins’ side another Super League Play Offs win.

The 27-year-old Egyptian frontman slotted Olympiacos in front just before the half-hour mark, but Vajeba Sakor leveled matters in the first minute of added time at the end of the first half with a low diagonal shot from inside the penalty area.

Mathieu Valbuena missed a great chance to make it 2-1 with a late penalty 10 minutes from time, with his spot kick hitting the woodwork, but Hassan headed home a cross from Omar shortly afterwards to clinch the win.

THE MATCH

Champions-elect Olympiacos may not have had supporters to celebrate with, but the Karaiskakis had an air of a celebratory atmosphere with OFI’s arrival.

The Erythrolefki welcomed the Cretans having clinched their first league title in three seasons with Sunday’s 2-1 win over AEK. The only real motivation for the club to finish the playoffs was to ensure they end the season undefeated.

OFI, meanwhile, arrived in Piraeus in desperate need of points if they are to have a chance of overtaking Aris - the Thessaloniki side were three points ahead before kick-off - for the final European berth.

Perhaps understandably, there was no frantic start to this match with both teams content to feel each other out during the first 20 minutes. A couple of corners and a few long range efforts at both ends was all they could muster.

But then with their first serious attacking threat, Olympiacos opened the scoring on 27 minutes. It was a slick team goal, with good work from Kostas Fortounis and Bruno Gaspar who combined well to tee-up Hassan, and the Egyptian forward side-footed home with consummate ease from close range to make it 1-0.

There was a lengthy delay while the officials checked the VAR review, but eventually the goal was valid.

A hard-working OFI outfit did not collapse at that point, however. On the contrary, the Cretans battled back and got themselves back on level terms just before the half-time whistle, when a cross was deflected into the path of Sakor. The Norwegian midfielder did not hesitate, sending a low, measured into the bottom left corner of Alain Bobby’s goal.

Chances were few and far between in a lower key second half, with Olympiacos seemingly content to wait for their opportunity to score a second goal as OFI chased down every ball.

The home side were presented with a great opportunity to win the match in the 80th minute when they were awarded a penalty, but Frenchman Valbuena hit the woodwork with his spot-kick.

Youssef El Arabi then had a good chance moments later when he broke into the OFI penalty area, but Dimitris Sotiriou produced a superb save at his near post to deny him.

A second goal did finally come, though, with eight minutes left when Omar picked out Hassan with a great cross which the Egpytian headed home to claim all three points for the home side.

STARTING LINEUPS

Olympiacos: 16 Allain (Gk), 4 Camara, 7 Fortounis, 8 Guilherme, 19 Masouras, 21 Tsimikas, 24 Ba, 26 Cafu, 66 Cisse, 76 Gaspar, 99 Hassan

OFI: 32 Sotiriou (Gk), 34 Korovesis, 13 Vafeas, 5 Koutroubis, 16 Marinakis, 41 Deligiannidis, 4 Sakor, 12 Zoao, 26 Staikos, 10 Nabi, 9 Manos

credits: www.agonasport.com

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