Apollon breathed new life into the title race on Thursday with a 1-0 win over leaders Apoel to reduce the gap at the top of the table to four points.
A goal by Fotis Papoulis late in the first half was enough to give the Larnaca side the win against the champions, a result which sees them leapfrog AEK and move back into second place on 67 points.
In an uneventful and scrappy first 45 minutes Papoulis’ goal was the only attempt on target and even that needed the help of a deflection off an Apoel defender to beat goalkeeper Boy Waterman.
The second half saw Apoel step up a gear but they could not find a way through Apollon’s well organised defence. In fact it was the home side who nearly doubled the score in the 57th minute but Papoulis’ goalbound effort was superbly saved by Waterman.
Seeing that his team were unable to make any progress in the final third of the pitch Apoel’s coach Thomas Christiansen introduced two more attackers to his side and reverted to a back three.
This however left gaps at the back and it was the home side again who should have scored but Mario Sergio shot wide with just the keeper to beat.
In the 67th minute Apoel created their first chance as Pieros Sotiriou raced clear on goal but goalkeeper Bruno Vale’s outstretched leg denied him the chance.
With time ticking away Apoel reverted to high balls into the area that were easily dealt with by Apollon.
The home side were dangerous on the break and Anton Maglica should have doubled the score for his team but could only hit the post from a few metres out with Waterman out of position.
Apoel had one more chance to equalise a couple of minutes from time but David Barral’s rasping shot was beaten away by Vale.
The final whistle saw Apollon celebrating their second win in a couple of months against the leaders, ensuring an exciting second round of the playoffs.
In the other game of the day in the bottom group, Nea Salamina and relegation-threatened Doxa Katokopias played out a goalless draw, leaving Doxa rooted in the final relegation spot, five points behind Aris and Karmiotissa.