Rahul Sharma (Editor)

Cretan derby

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Teams  Ergotelis, OFI
Next meeting  TBD
Other names  The Battle of Crete Η Μάχη της Κρήτης
Locale  Heraklion / Crete, Greece
First meeting  18 August 1929 (friendly)
Latest meeting  Ergotelis 3 - 2 OFI, 7 February 2015

The Cretan derby (Greek: Το Κρητικό Ντέρμπι), also called The Battle of Crete (Greek: Η Μάχη της Κρήτης) is an association football rivalry between Ergotelis and OFI, the 2 teams representing the city of Heraklion, Crete in the Greek Super League.


Social rivalry

Historically, the events that followed the conclusion of the 1966-1967 season of Greece's Second Football Division (Beta Ethniki) have been attributed as the foremost reason for the two clubs' rivalry. At that time, both clubs were in the league, with OFI having finished in 3rd and Ergotelis in 10th place, both safe from relegation status. When the Greek military junta came to power in 1967, a law was passed, that determined that only a single club would have the right to represent each regional city in Greece's professional leagues. This led to Ergotelis' relegation to amateur status. Furthermore, the clubs remaining in the Beta Ethniki (later renamed the Football League) had the right to demand the transfer of any number of players from the relegated clubs. As a result, five of Ergotelis' best considered players at the time (Konstantinos Theodorakis, Dimitrios Papadopoulos, Manolis Stavroulakis, Konstantinos Zouraris and Georgios Skandalakis), were signed by OFI. OFI club officials have also been reported to force these individuals into hiding, in order to thwart any attempts from Ergotelis' side to approach and renew contracts with the players. Tensions between the two clubs rose when a court decision in favor of Ergotelis was overruled by the junta-controlled Hellenic Football Federation, which finally approved OFI's contracts with the players and threatened Ergotelis officials with eviction from their home turf in Martinengo Stadium.

Ergotelis's relegation directly followed an incident in which the club's board of directors agreed to allow renowned left-liberal songwriter and composer Mikis Theodorakis to perform a concert, held at Ergotelis' traditional home stadium, in the Venetian-era Martinengo Bastion, in August 6, 1966. To this day, the club's relegation to amateur status has been linked to this decision, and still remains a topic of various controversies amongst the fans of the two clubs.

Football rivalry

The Cretan derby traditionally stands as a football rivalry between the two most successful football clubs representing the city of Heraklion in the Greek professional football leagues. Even before their professional debuts, the two teams would often clash for the title in Crete's regional football leagues, as well as the honour of being Crete's most successful club in the Greek Cup. In contrast to other regional Greek football rivalries, the rivalry between OFI and Ergotelis has rarely shown signs of extreme intensity, as the two teams have played numerous friendly games against each other. However the very first game between the two teams, a friendly in 1929, was abandoned after violence between the players broke out, just 35 minutes into the game.

Following the events that led to Ergotelis' relegation to amateur status in 1967, the two clubs went on in completely opposite ways. OFI were promoted to Greece's top professional football league (the Alpha Ethniki, later renamed as Superleague), starting a notable 33-year run in the division, which included two Greek Cup finals, leading to the club's first trophy in 1987, a second place Championship finish in the 1985 - 1986 season and a string of successful European campaigns. Ergotelis on the other hand, would languish in the lower leagues for 32 years, before making a comeback in the early 2000s, which saw the club win the Beta Ethniki title in the 2005-2006 season, and start its own consecutive top-flight run.


1 Including play-off games

  • Record Alpha Ethniki win
  • Ergotelis
  • Home: Ergotelis – OFI 2–0, Pankritio Stadium (23 September 2006)
    (Melissas 21', Načevski 79')
  • Away: OFI – Ergotelis 1–3, Pankritio Stadium (4 February 2007)
    (Drulić 79' - Haxhi 15', Júnior 20', Budimir 91')
  • OFI
  • Home: OFI – Ergotelis 5–0, Theodoros Vardinogiannis Stadium ("Yedi Kule") (27 November 2004)
    (Nwafor 36', 41', 58', Machlas 46', 68')
  • Away: Ergotelis – OFI 1–3, Pankritio Stadium (14 December 2008)
    (Budimir 36' - N'Doye 43', Popović 52', Simić 62')
  • Bigger grade difference
  • Ergotelis
  • Point system 3–1–0: +12 (36 vs 24), 2008–09
  • OFI
  • Point system 3–1–0: +12 (32 vs 20), 2004–05
  • Greek Cup

    Series won: Ergotelis 2, OFI 3.

    Head-to-head ranking in Super League Greece

    Total: Ergotelis 5 times higher, OFI 7 times higher.

    Penalties and red cards

    Including all the Alpha Ethniki and Greek Cup games since 1959–60.


    Cretan derby Wikipedia

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