By Nemanja Bjedov
JORGE Filipe Monteiro’s goal in the last minute of the match gave AEL a 1-0 win over arch-rivals and league leaders Apollon in Round 10 of the national football championship this weekend in the Limassol derby at the Tsirion Stadium, as they closed the gap at the top to three points.
“This was a great game for our team and my players showed remarkable determination in a fantastic atmosphere,” said AEL coach Ivaylo Petev.
“During the week we tried to identify Apollon’s weaknesses and prepare a game plan in order to exploit them. This is what we managed to do, since every time we had the ball we were looking for the right moment to go forward,” he added.
“For the majority of the game we had more possession and played with visible desire and enthusiasm. The only thing I am not happy with is the fact that we did not score earlier. However, this is football and in some games you get the desired outcome, while in others you simply do not. What we can do is try to improve ourselves game after game,” Petev concluded.
Apollon remain top of the standings with 24 points, while in-form Ermis Aradippou are now second with 23 points after they beat Nea Salamina 1-0, with Brazilian midfielder Cesinha scoring the only goal in the first minute.
Omonia where held to a 1-1 home draw by Aris, while both Anorthosis and APOEL could also only manage 1-1 draws against AEK and Doxa Katokopia respectively.
Omonia are fourth with 20 points, Anorthosis fifth with 19, while APOEL and Doxa Katokopia follow with 17 points apiece, with the defending champions ahead due to a better goal difference.
“We are obviously disappointed, but that is football. We did not convert our chances from early on and then we had to look for an equaliser. They chose to defend and that proved a good decision,” Omonia coach Toni Savevski said after his side’s five-game winning streak came to an end.
Elsewhere in Round 10, bottom side Alki managed to secure their first points in ten matches after a 1-1 draw against fellow strugglers Enosis Neon Paralimni.
The Larnaca side now have -11 points after they were deducted 12 points by the Cyprus Football Federation over financial irregularites.
The Paralimni outfit find themselves on -1 points after they were also deducted three points.
Ethnikos Achnas beat AEK Kouklion 2-0 away from home.