By Nemanja Bjedov
CYPRUS’ two Europa League representatives Apollon and APOEL go head-to-head in Round 8 of the Cyprus championship on Saturday afternoon at 3pm at the Tsirion Stadium in Limassol.
“APOEL recently changed their coach and he is trying to implement new tactics. We have already analysed what changes were made and we will prepare for them in the same way we prepare for any other game regardless if we play locally or in Europe,” said Apollon coach Christakis Christoforou
“I want us to perform well and regardless of the outcome, our goals – which are focused on the Europa League – will not alter,” added Christoforou whose side top the table on 18 points. However, Christoforou will not be able to count on Abraham Gneki Guie, Bertrand Robert and Charalambos Kyriakou for the APOEL clash.
“Charalambous started training with the team and hopefully he will be fully fit for the match against Lazio (on Thursday), while Robert is currently in Israel in the medical centre we cooperate with. Guie is currently following an individual training regime and it is still unclear when he will be able to help the team,” Christoforou added.
APOEL coach Giorgos Donis recorded his first win with the Cyprus champions in the last round when the Nicosia giants overcame Anorthosis 1-0 at the GSP Stadium, and he will be looking to build on the result.
“I believe this is an important game if you take into consideration the current standings. Obviously earning points is important and we do not want the gap between us and the teams on top to widen; however, at this time I am not entirely focused on the result,” assessed Donis.
“My priority is to make my team play better, for us to improve as a unit. The final result definitely counts and this game is a big one, but we approach each match in the same way. We will analyse the opposition,” added Donis whose side lie sixth in the table, trailing Apollon by five points.
APOEL central defenders Aritz Borda and Joao Guilherme are doubtful, but Donis has insisted that the missing players should not be an excuse and that his team must show themselves as being as strong as possible in every game.
Elsewhere, on Saturday at 5pm, Doxa Katokopia host AEK Kouklion, while an hour later Alki take on Ethnikos Achnas.
In-form Ermis Aradippou face AEL at the Ammochostos Stadium in Larnaca at 7pm.
On Sunday afternoon at 4pm, Anorthosis meet Enosis Neon Paralimni, while at 6pm Aris and Omonia host AEK Larnaca and Nea Salamina respectively.
By Nemanja Bjedov