Cyprus football is entering a crucial period following Monday’s violent clashes at Limassol’s Tsirion stadium during and after the AEL v Apoel game.
It is fortunate that there are no matches this weekend that can be classified as ‘high-risk’ but one can never underestimate the stupidity and recklessness of hooligans.
Second-placed Anorthosis kick-off Round 16 of the championship with a trip to Limassol to face struggling Aris.
Despite a recent drop in form the Famagusta side has still managed to pick up points even though in their last two games, they nicked them right at the death against so-called lesser opposition.
Aris are going through a tough period, picking up just one point from their last four games, something that saw them drop into the relegation zone.
However Aris skipper Markos Marangoudakis remains confident ahead of the clash saying: “Our confidence is sky high and we are sure that we shall get something out of this game.”
The sleeping giants of Nicosia – Omonia – will play for the first time under their new Bulgarian coach Ivaylo Petev following the sacking of Pambos Christodoulou.
This is Petev’s second spell in Cyprus, having coached AEL in 2013 where he lost the title on goal difference.
His first opponents are bottom side Ethnikos Achnas, who are favourites for the drop and will need yet another Houdini act if they are to avoid relegation this season.
Their poor form and lack of confidence was obvious when they got knocked out of the Cyprus Cup last Wednesday by second division side Othellos Athienou.
Leaders AEK have a seemingly easy home game against Ermis Aradippou where their leading scorer Florian Taulemmeuse will be looking to add to his 15-goal tally, while third-placed Apollon should score a hatful against Olympiakos, whose form has also dipped in recent weeks.
Apoel entertain Nea Salamina in Nicosia while the final weekend game is between in-form Doxa Katokopias and AEL.
The final game of Round 16 will take place in Larnaca between Alki Oroklinis and Pafos FC on Monday evening.
Saturday: Aris v Anorthosis (4.00), Ethnikos v Omonia (5.00), Apoel v Nea Salamina (7.00)
Sunday: Apollon v Olympiakos (4.00), Doxa v AEL (5.00), AEK v Ermis (6.00)
Monday: Doxa v Pafos FC (7.00)