Epic Vasilakakis double inspires Atromitos fight back against Platanias

Epic Vasilakakis double inspires Atromitos fight back against Platanias
 

GREEK SUPERLEAGUE - MATCHDAY 13

Platanias 1 - 3 Atromitos
Nsikulu 22'


Vasilakakis 61', 76'
Warda 71'

Atromitos staged a smash and grab raid in Chania to come from a goal behind to beat SuperLeague strugglers Platanias 3-1 thanks to two stunning strikes from midfielder Theodoros Vasilakakis.

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Platanias’ Congolese striker Clarck N'Sikulu opened the scoring at the Perivolia Municipal Stadium after 20 minutes to set the Cretan club up for what would have been only their second win of the season.

But a well-below par Atromitos, who were second best for long spells and had goalkeeper Andreas Gianniotis to thank for saving a penalty when the hosts were 1-0 up, had their blushes spared by the brilliance of midfielder Vasilakakis, who levelled the match just after the hour mark with a superb bicycle kick.

Atromitos’ Egytpian midfielder Amr Warda took advantage of a woeful error by Platanias defenders Vanderson and Dimitris Stamou to put Atromitos 2-1 ahead, while Vasilakakis put the icing on the cake for the visitors with an exceptional long-range volley to complete the scoring.

As a result, Atromitos remain fourth but now have 24 points, which moves them to within one point of third-placed PAOK, two adrift of Olympiacos in second and three behind leaders AEK.

Platanias, who have now lost nine matches in a row, prop up the table with just six points after matchday 13 and face an almost impossible task to avoid relegation.

It was rough justice on Jose Roca’s men, who had put in an impressive display up to the hour mark. The Cretans had chances to extend their early lead before half-time, with Damir Canadi’s Atromitos unrecognisable from the team who have set the league alight this season.

Platanias have been on an abysmal run of late, conceding 11 goals in their last three games alone while only scoring once, but they looked a completely different team in the first-half, opening the scoring after making a bright start.

Former Greece youth international midfielder Elini Dimoutsos robbed Atromitos’ Abiola Dauda of possession before setting up N'Sikulu, who finished clinically past hapless Gianniotis.

Gianniotis came to the rescue for his team twice in the space of two minutes just after the half-hour mark when he kept out N'Sikulu’s header and then a shot from Spanish midfielder Didac Devesa after a neat exchange of passes with N'Sikulu.

There was no immediate sign of improvement from Atromitos at half-time with the visitors once again thanking their lucky stars as Gianniotis brilliantly saved a penalty from Ukrainian forward Yevhen Budnik.

The spot-kick had been awarded for a foul by Spiros Risvanas on the effervescent Sikulu, who led the Atromitos defender on a merry dance with a smart dribble before being cut down.

Platanias were then made to pay dearly for that miss when out of nowhere, Atromitos drew level with an absolutely superb scissor-kick by Vasilakakis. The 29-year-old acrobatically fired past a helpless Antonis Kokkalas after a great run and cross by Nigerian forward Abiola Dauda.

Atromitos then went on the offensive and would have went 2-1 ahead shortly after had it not been for a great save by Kokkalas from Amr Warda’s free-kick.

Warda did get his goal after 71 minutes, before Vasilakakis added a spectacular third which was even better than his first strike to seal a remarkable comeback which had looked almost improbable for much of the game.

 
By Graham Wood
Image Source: onsports.gr
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