By Nemanja Bjedov
APOEL coach Giorgos Donis on Friday reflected on his side’s 2-1 Europa League win over Bordeaux on Thursday that left the Nicosia giants with a chance of qualifying for the knockout stage of the competition.
“This was an important victory,” he said. “I believe that we improved, especially in the second half. My players deserve a lot of credit because we conceded the equaliser on the stroke of half-time and the atmosphere in the dressing room during the interval was not the best one, but the players came out, showed character and changed the flow of the game,” added Donis, whose side are languishing in sixth place in the national championship with 13 points ahead of their home game with Alki on Monday night.
Cyprus’ second Europa League representative Apollon went down to a narrow 2-1 defeat in Rome to Italian giants Lazio, also on Thursday night, in Group J.
The results leave both APOEL and Apollon in third place in their respective Europa League groups with four points apiece and with two more games to be played, so they both have a realistic chance of qualification.
“I am absolutely delighted with my players. In the second half they played with so much confidence and moved the ball really well. We tried to get at least a point for all of our fans who did not stop supporting us throughout the game, said Apollon coach Christakis Christoforou.
Apollon, leading the Cyprus championship with 21 point from eight games, on Monday visit an Enosis Neon Paralimni side who have drawn once and lost seven times so far during this campaign. However, their performances are better than what their results would suggest.
On Saturday afternoon at 3pm, AEL host Anorthosis at the Tsirion Stadium in Limassol in the Round 9 opener, while at 5pm Ethnikos Achnas take on Doxa Katokopias at the Dasaki Stadium in Achnas.
An hour later, Nea Salamina face Aris Limassol at the Ammochostos Stadium in Larnaca.
Two matches are scheduled for Sunday afternoon with AEK taking on in-form Ermis Aradippou in a minor Larnaca derby at the GSZ Stadium with kick-off at 5pm, while an hour later AEK Kouklion host Toni Savevski’s Omonia, who are undefeated in their last five games, recording four consecutive victories coming into the match.
By Nemanja Bjedov