By Nemanja Bjedov
CUP holders Apollon Limassol left it late before securing a narrow 1-0 advantage over Nea Salamina in the first leg of their Coca Cola Cup Round 16 clash after Greek midfielder Fotios Papoulis headed the ball home in the last minute of regular time, yesterday evening at the Tsirion Stadium in Limassol.
“This was only the first half. We deservedly won, but who will go through will be decided in two weeks in Larnaca. It was an open game and both teams had chances to score.
“Before we start thinking of the second leg we will be fully focused on Omonia who are our next opponents in the league this coming weekend,” assessed Apollon coach Christakis Christoforou.
At the GSP Stadium in Nicosia, APOEL beat AEL 1-0, with Irish striker Cillian Sheridan scoring the only goal of the game in the 40th minute.
AEL midfielder Dede and APOEL’s Nektarios Alexandrou got into an argument after the final whistle and the referee showed them both yellow cards. Dede will now miss the return leg as he was sent off for his second yellow card of the game.
“We lost, but we still have a solid chance of advancement because the second leg will be played at our stadium in two weeks time. Both teams had their chances, but it was APOEL who managed to score and that goal was the difference between the two teams tonight,” said AEL spokesman Ploutis Avraam.
“In the second leg we will have to play without Dede, but we are expecting a few new players to arrive in Cyprus by then so our chances should be good to achieve progress into the next round,” he added.
APOEL vice-president Vassos Eliades also thinks his side have a good chance of reaching the next round: “This is only the first half of the tie. There are another ninety minutes and maybe more to be played two weeks from now, but I believe we have a good chance after today’s result. However, our focus now shifts to AEK who we play in the league this weekend.”
Elsewhere, Doxa Katokopia beat Olympiakos Nicosia 3-1 away from home, while AEK Kouklion celebrated a 1-0 victory over Ermis Aradippou. Enosis Neon Paralimni and Ethnikos Achnas played out a goalless draw.