Two huge games, one in each group, take place this afternoon that may go a long way in deciding this season’s champions and the final team to join Ethnikos Achnas and Aris in the second division.
In Limassol, the two breakaway joint leaders Apollon and Apoel clash at the Tsirion in a game that can go either way given that both sides count a win each in the games between them in the regular season.
Surprisingly it was the visiting team that picked up the three points on the two fixtures.
Both sides have tried to play down the importance of the game but a win for either club will give them a clear advantage, more so in the case of Apollon, who will then need to drop four points to surrender the lead due to their superior head-to-head record with the incumbent champions.
Apollon come into the game on the back of an important away win against Anorthosis and Sofronis Avgousti’s side has shown that they can grind out results even if their star players do not dazzle.
Apollon are a joy to watch especially when they go forward with the likes of Alex da Silva, Fotis Papoulis, and Antonio Jakolis, to name a few, capable of splitting open the meanest of defences.
With so many attack-minded players Apollon may be vulnerable on the counter as was the case the last time the two sides met where winners Apoel looked the more menacing despite playing the last quarter of the game with ten players.
However a lot will depend on who wins the midfield battle where two Argentinian defensive midfielders, Apollon’s Esteban Sachetti and Apoel’s Carlos Farias are expected to lock horns for supremacy.
Interestingly enough Farias has started just six games this season, but was given the nod last week against AEK at the expense of Lucas de Souza and repaid his coach by covering every blade of grass with a man of the match display.
There is a question mark on who Donis will decide to lead his attack with Guilherme Dellatorre having a slight advantage over Mikael Pote.
The referee for the game is no-nonsense official Leontios Trattos who is in for a very busy afternoon.
In the relegation scrap, bottom of the group Olympiakos have a last chance to re-ignite their chances of survival against the team just above them, Nea Salamina.
They currently trail Salamina by a massive seven points and, barring a miracle, anything other than a win will send them straight back to the second division.
Chrysis Michael, Olympiakos’ coach has all his players at his disposal while his counterpart at Nea Salamina, Savvas Poursaitides, is sweating on the fitness of tricky striker Carlao.
In the final game of the day, Ermis Aradippou take on leaders of the bottom group Doxa Katokopias.
Apollon v Apoel & Olympiakos v Nea Salamina at 16.00, Ermis v Doxa (18.00)