By Nemanja Bjedov
DEFENDING champions APOEL will be looking to reignite their title defence on Saturday evening (7pm) when they visit Nea Salamina at the Ammochostos Stadium in Larnaca after collecting only four points from their first three games.
“We all fully support our players, our coach and his coaching staff,” said APOEL president Phivos Erotokritou.
“There is no doubt that this is not where we expected to be at this point of the season. We had a bad start to the league, we had to overcome an unfair elimination from the UEFA Champions League qualifiers in Maribor, but we were eventually lucky enough to get into the Europa League group stage.
“What happened to us in Maribor greatly affected all of us, especially our players and our coach,” Erotokritou added.
Paulo Sergio will not be able to count on Gustavo Manduca and Christian for the Nea Salamina clash, while he will give a late fitness test to Marcelo Oliveira.
The Portuguese coach is under a lot of pressure as there are rumours that if the team does not achieve a positive result, it could be his last match at the helm of the Nicosia giants.
Greek coach Giorgos Donis has been mentioned as Sergio’s potential successor and his agent apparently called Erotokritou to discuss the potential job opening.
“Donis’ manager called me and he told me that Donis is interested in coming to Cyprus to take over at APOEL. I told him that we are not looking for a coach at the moment. Donis is a remarkable coach, but as I said there is no question of who is coaching our team for the time being,” concluded Erotokritou.
Apart from the match at the Ammochostos Stadium, Apollon host Alki at the same time in Limassol.
APOEL and Apollon’s matches are scheduled Saturday because they are in Europa League action on Thursday with APOEL hosting in-form Germans Eintracht Frankfurt, while Apollon visit Poland where they will take on Legia Warsaw.
On Sunday afternoon at 6pm league leaders Anorthosis take on Doxa Katokopia at the Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium in Larnaca, while Aris face Ethnikos Achnas. An hour later at the GSZ Stadium, AEK take on Enosis Neon Paralimni, while Omonia meet AEL at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia.
In the final match of Round 4, on Monday evening at 7pm, Ermis host AEK Kouklion in Larnaca.
By Nemanja Bjedov