Cyprus Mail

Crunch time for APOEL and Apollon in Europa League

By Nemanja Bjedov
APOEL cannot afford a third straight Europa League defeat as they take on Bordeaux in their Group F encounter at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia on Thursday at 8pm, while Apollon will be hoping to become the first Cypriot side to beat Italian opponents when they visit Lazio in Group J at 10.05pm.
“If we win against Bordeaux then we will remain in the race to qualify for the next stage of the competition,” said APOEL forward Eftathios Aloneftis.
“It looks as though Eintracht Frankfurt will top the group, but second place is still a possibility for all the three other teams. We are optimistic although we are well aware that it will be very difficult. I personally believe that if we produce a quality performance and with the fans behind us, we can win,” Aloneftis added.
Henrique’s late goal in France secured a 2-1 win for Bordeaux when the sides met on matchday three, but the French side will have to be at their best in order to record their first away win in the group after a draw and two defeats.
The Cyprus champions are bottom of Group F with only one point from three matches, while their opponents are in third place with three points. Eintracht Frankfurt top the group after three straight wins, while Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv are second with four points.
Apollon Limassol are currently third in Group J with four points with Lazio sitting in second place with a solitary point more than the Cypriot Cup holders. Legia Warsaw are bottom of the group without a point, while Turkish outfit Trabzonspor top the group with seven points.
“It will certainly be a difficult game for us, and since we have a realistic chance of progressing we will do everything we can to get a desired result in Rome,” said Apollon press officer Fanourios Konstantinou.
“However, we also must stay realistic because the final result will probably mostly depend on how they play. They have a bigger squad and obviously a significantly greater budget than us. We have to try and limit our mistakes and hope that they have an off day,” Konstantinou added.
“We will go into this game with the same mentality, which is to represent Cypriot football as best as we can. We have good players, a good coach and we will do everything we can. The lead we now have in the national championship will not be a distraction, because every game we have an even tougher opponent to deal with, which is accumulated fatigue,” Konstantinou added.

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