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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 23 June 2018
26 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 23 JUNE 2018 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Bergers overcome Avondale in Dockerty Cup playoff classic PHOTO: SALLY TSALIKIDIS GEORGE STOGIANNOU Heidelberg United remains on track to win back-to-back Dockerty Cup trophies after defeating Avondale FC 3-2 on Wednesday night in a torrid play-off match at Olympic Village to qualify for the semifinals. The match lived up to its pre-match billing of a clash between NPL heavyweights with league leading Bergers taking on third-placed Avondale. It followed a recent league meeting between the two sides which ended all square at 1-1. The difference this time being that the Bergers had key players Sean Ellis and Harry Noon available after their recent recovery from injury. With both sides renowned for their physical prowess, there was no quarter asked or given, and in a foul-riddled first half, flowing football was at a premium. The home side went on the front foot early forcing several corners and free kicks without creating a clear opening. The visitors grew into the game as the half progressed with Evan Christodoulou and Stefan Zinni firing wide of the target. Avondale playmaker Joseph Katebian came closest to scoring when he hit the upright with a snapshot just before the break. The physical encounter had its victim with Bergers' veteran centre back Steven Pace forced from the field and sent to hospital with a dislocated shoulder after clashing with Avondale winger Elvis Kamsoba. The second half began with another fracas with players streaming from all over the pitch. Once the melee had cleared, the Bergers' went ahead when striker Tom Cahill escaped his marker at the far post to volley home a curling Sean Ellis free kick. A minute later, Ellis earned a penalty after beating his fullback opponent Anthony Strano down the right only to be brought down by a desperate Strano challenge. Bergers’ keeper Chris Theodoridis, who has been Heidelberg's successful penalty taker during Ellis's injury absence, stepped up to take the spot kick, but his shot was saved by his opposite number, Avondale keeper Chris Oldfield, keeping the visitors in the game. The save spurred on Avondale and three minutes later they’d had found an equaliser when Kamsoba scrambled his shot through a congested Bergers' defence, and over the line. The goal and Oldfield's save swung the momentum into Avondale's favour and for the next 15 minutes they dominated with Katebian and Kamsoba finding space and more of the ball in the middle of the park. Against the Avondale tide, it was the Bergers who struck. Good work from Ellis and Panathinaikos wins Greek League In a 84-70 win over rival Olympiakos, Panathinaikos won the Greek basketball league for a record 37th time last week in Athens. That was the fifth and deciding game in the playoff finals 3-2. Trailing 35-31 at halftime, Panathinaikos used a 2915 run in the third quarter to take control. Guard Mike James led Panathinaikos with 18 points, while centre Jamel McLean was Olympiakos' top scorer with 16 points. Panathinaikos' fans dedicated the title to Pavlos Giannakopoulos, the recently deceased former owner of the basketball club and father of current owner, Dimitris Giannakopoulos, the protothema website reported. It wasn't a drama-free match, as Panathinaikos fans spent 15 minutes throwing water and plastic bottles at Olympiakos' bench just before the second half of the game commenced, causing a significant delay. PHOTO: EUROKINISSI Noon put sub Alex Schiavo through on goal and he side-footed his shot past Oldfield who couldn't save despite getting a hand to the ball. Avondale continued to press forward in the final 15 minutes with the Bergers hanging on. In injury time, the visitors' endeavour was rewarded when striker Liam Boland controlled a long ball into the box with a good first touch, spun around and shot into the net for an equaliser. With the game seemingly headed for extra time, the Bergers broke forward once more in the 94th minute when a long Ellis pass found Schiavo down the right channel, who broke past Avondale defender Jeff Fleming and cut the ball back to Noon at knee height. Noon obliged with a first time volley which flew past Oldfield into the net to make it 3-2 to the Bergers. After seven minutes of injury time, during which Kamsoba received a red for jumping on keeper Theodoridis, the ref's whistle ended an epic contest signalling the start of jubilant celebrations in the Bergers' camp. The Bergers now progress to a Dockerty Cup semifinal clash with local rivals Northcote City, while Bentleigh Greens and Port Melbourne Sharks will battle out the other semi ensuring an all-Greek final for the second year running.
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30 June 2018