OFI and Aris seal long awaited promotion to Super League
GREEK FOOTBALL LEAGUE - MATCHDAY 29
|AE Karaiskakis||0 - 2||Aris|
|Player 10'||kassos 13'
Football League leaders OFI Crete and Aris Thessaloniki confirmed their promotion from the second division, winning their respective matches on Sunday to qualify for the 2018/2019 Super League season.
The two teams came into the 2017/2018 Football League among the main favourites to earn promotion to Greece’s most prestigious championship, with both living up to the high expectations. Aris, who had to work their way up from the bottom after exiting the Super League in 2014 with financial problems, have been excellent in this year’s Football League season, losing only the one match in 29 fixtures. Incidentally, that loss came against fellow promotion claimers OFI.
On Sunday, Aris took on Karaiskakis in the knowledge that a win would seal promotion, and the Thessaloniki outfit duly earned a 2:0 victory on the road. Paschalis Kassos opened the scoring early in the first half, before Portuguese defender Hugo Sousa doubled the advantage after 44 minutes to complete the win. Boasting 70 points in second position of the table, Aris cannot be caught by third placed Panachaiki who have 60.
Following the triumph, Aris released this following statement: “Aris FC congratulates the players with promotion to the Super League and the club’s return to its rightful place! Next season, we hope that our team will have similar success in the top division. Congratulations to everyone at the club!”
|Apollon Pontou||0 - 1||OFI|
Elsewhere, OFI Crete travelled to Apollon Pontou looking for the promotion guaranteeing victory. It proved to be a tight affair though, as OFI failed to make the breakthrough until 11 minutes from full time when Thanasis Dinas converted a penalty kick. Earlier in the second half, Pontou’s Dimitris Amarantidis received a straight red card.
On the club’s official website, OFI published these photographs from the celebratory dressing room:
OFI are in pole position to win the Football League, currently holding a slender one point advantage over Aris. The Cretans have gradually grown into the season, recently embarking on an incredible winning streak and having real firepower through prolific forward Dimitris Manos. The club last played in the Super League in the 2014/2015 season, leaving the championship with serious financial issues.
Current Football League standings:
- OFI, 71 points
- Aris, 70 points
- Panachaiki, 60 points
- AO Chania Kissamikos, 51 points