By Nemanja Bjedov
GUSTAVO Manduca scored the only goal of the game at the Tsirion Stadium in Limassol yesterday as APOEL recorded a 1-0 win over AEL for an aggregate 2-0 victory over last season’s beaten finalists in the Cyprus Coca Cola Cup Round of 16.
The home side had the initiative in the early stages of the game and their first goal-scoring opportunity came in the 11th minute when Argentinean midfielder Esteban Sachetti headed the ball narrowly wide after a corner kick. Despite their initial superiority, AEL failed to break the deadlock and towards the end of the first half it was the visitors who took control of the game.
Tomas De Vincenti had a great chance to put the Cypriot champions ahead when he had a one-on-one with AEL goalkeeper Karim Fegrouch in the 36th minute, but his shot was not powerful enough and Fegrouch managed to pull off a good save and keep his team in contention.
After the interval APOEL continued to dominate and influential Brazilian midfielder Manduca opened the scoring in the 64th minute, converting De Vincenti’s cross, to secure the Nicosia giants’ progression into the quarter-finals for the first time since the 2009-2010 season, also getting revenge over AEL who knocked them out at this stage of the competition in the last two seasons.
In another Round of 16 second leg played yesterday afternoon, cup holders Apollon beat Nea Salamina 3-1 at the Ammochostos Stadium in Larnaca to seal a 4-1 aggregate victory and their spot in the last eight of the competition.
The hosts cancelled out Apollon’s first leg lead two minutes before the interval through Sinisa Dobrasinovic, but the Limassol side responded well in the second half, and after Stergios Psianos scored an own goal to level the scores ten minutes after the break and Marcos Gullon made it 2-1 three minutes later, the visitors’ job got much easier and Camel Meriem eventually set up the final score two minutes before the final whistle.
At the GSZ Stadium in Larnaca, Alki could only manage an entertaining 3-3 draw against Onisilos Sotira in what was the first leg of their Round of 16 clash.
The top-flight side took a a 3-1 half-time lead, but the visitors, who are bottom of the B2 division with only three wins from 17 games, managed to score two goals and get a promising result ahead of the return leg next week in Sotira.