The second half of the regular season in the Cyprus football championship starts this weekend with a number of exciting games, even though the most important one – between leaders AEK and Omonia – for some inexplicable reason will take place on Monday evening.
Second-placed Anorthosis have drawn three of their last five games but they will go into Sunday’s home game against Nea Salamina as red-hot favourites despite their recent dip in form.
However they cannot take this game too lightly, despite Salamina’s lowly position, especially as in the corresponding first round fixture, Anorthosis were rather fortunate to take a point from the game.
Anorthosis coach Ronny Levy will be without suspended left-back Daniel Pranjic and striker Demba Camara, leaving the Israeli coach short of options in those positions.
Young Cypriot defender Giorgos Pileas and veteran forward Andre Alves are the obvious replacements.
Nea Salamina are a team in turmoil at the moment. They began the season with a top-six place as their target, but have so far managed just one win. Funnily enough, that came against current leaders AEK.
Savvas Poursaitides, who replaced Liasos Louca as the new Salamina coach last month, will be hoping that star summer signing Gaston Sangoy and experienced goalkeeper Robert Veselofsky are passed fit for the game.
Champions Apoel face Ermis Aradippou for the second time in four days.
Last Wednesday Apoel defeated Ermis in their pre-arranged first round game with consummate ease, hitting four past them with both sides having four players ineligible to compete.
This time round Apoel will be without Nuno Morais while Ermis will be missing China and Innocent Emerghara, all three picking up their third yellow card of the season last Wednesday.
There is also a question mark over Ermis’ Tsoumou who limped off the field in the same game.
Apollon are up against Pafos FC and should prove too strong for them, especially as the team from Pafos do not do well in away games, having just one win so far this season.
There will be a local derby on Sunday in Limassol as AEL take on Aris while Alki entertain bottom of the league Ethnikos Achnas.
In the final weekend game, Doxa Katokopias play against Olympiakos with both sides going through a rough patch.
Saturday: Apollon v Pafos FC, Apoel v Ermis (5.00), Alki v Ethnikos (6.00),
Sunday: Aris v AEL (4.00), Doxa v Olympiakos (5.00), Anorthosis v Salamina (6.00)
Monday: AEK v Omonia (7.00)