By Nemanja Bjedov
Olcan Adin’s hat-trick ensured Trabzonspor could see off a late comeback from Apollon and secure a place in Europa’s round of 32 on Thursday night. The hosts ended the visitors’ European dreams with a 4-2 victory in the fifth round of Group J at the Hüseyin Avni Aker Stadium.
There were few chances in the early stages of the match, but the hosts were clinical when they eventually got going, as Olcan Adin and Soner Aydoğdu scored in quick succession midway through the first half.
Florent Malouda looked bright on the left, and it was the former French international who provided the cross for Adin to head in the opener. The hosts doubled their lead before Apollon had a chance to get their breath back, scoring three minutes later after Aydoğdu bundled the ball in.
Adin extended the Turkish side’s lead in the 61st minute by firing into the roof of the net, before Guie Gneki Abraham netted a header for the visitors seven minutes later.
Abraham then won a penalty 12 minutes later which was converted by Gaston Sangoy to reduce Apollon’s deficit to 3-2 and for a moment it looked like the Cypriot national cup holders are threatening a comeback. That was until Adin rounded off his hat-trick with a brilliant free kick in the 83rd minute.
Trabzonspor lead Group J by two points, and will battle Lazio for top spot when the two sides meet in the final round of the group stage, after the Italian side beat Legia Warszawa 2-0 away from home.
After this defeat Apollon remain in third place with four points from five matches, and without any chance of progressing into the knock-out stage.