ATHENS – OFI Crete F.C. “kicked away” the opportunity to give the team a breather in the league table on Sunday when they managed just a point against Apollon Smyrnis in Rizoupoli. With the draw, OFI failed to overtake Levadeiakos, who just a short time before the OFI match lost from Larisa, meaning that the Irakleio-based club remained in 15th place in the 16-team league.
The Cretans were better than “Elafra Taxiarxia”, and had hit the post three times, but for yet another match OFI showed that they have a problem in finishing their chances and scoring goals.
OFI entered the match with a sense of urgency and seemed to settle-in immediately. In the 15′ they were close to scoring when Ferreyra found himself one-on-one with Apollon keeper Huanderson, but he mishandled his control and Huanderson misjudged the path of the ball which ended up at the top of the box to OFI’s Neira who had a wide-open goal to shoot at but instead sent the ball sailing harmlessly above the crossbar.
Apollon made their first real offensive presence in the match known in the 19′ with a header from the advanced position of Nikos Vafeas which ended up out of play. Three minutes later, the home side earned a foul a little bit outside of OFI’s penalty box but the resulting free kick from El-Helwe went out of bounds.
In the 29′, OFI missed a golden double opportunity to open the score of the match. It all started from a Giannoulis shot on goal from around 30 meters away which was not dealt with well by Huanderson and that resulted in a rebound opportunity which was saved by Huanderson’s left post. The rebound off the post got to OFI’s Feriera who shot it on the move, and hit the right post of Huanderson! The pressure from the Cretans steadily increased and in the 31′, Giannoulis again tried a long-range shot, forcing Huanderson into a difficult save.
In the 39′, after a cross from Bedinelli, Nazlidis, from a good spot was able to get a solid head on the bball but OFI’s keeper Sotiriou was in the right place at the right time to block the shot. In the last minute of the first half, OFI hit the post for the third time when Neira had a close-range, chip shot on net that was just barely tipped by an outstretched Huanderson, enough to hit the crossbar before going out.
In the second half, in the ’47 a shot from Bedinelli passed just to the side of Sotiriou’s net. However, the Cretans immediately pressed Apollon and adopted a rapid-fire approach to attack and started peppering Huanderson’s net from both near and far distances. In the 55′ Huanderson was tested by Neira in one of the most notable shots of the half which barely squeaked wide of his net. Apollon’s answer came in the 58′ when Bedinelli crossed the ball to Nazlidi but the latter couldn’t quite catch up to the ball, which just needed to be tapped home, to open the scoring. In the 71′, Korovesis took a corner which Sakor got a good head on but nodded it just wide while in the 73′ Huanderson made a spectacular save on a Neira header. The efforts of the Cretans continued until the final whistle but the goal that would have given them the much-needed three points never came.
For Video Highlights from the match visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNnK867gckc