By Nemanja Bjedov
WITH two thirds of the Cyprus championship already completed, nine teams are still in with a realistic chance of finishing in the top six places at the end of the regular season which leads to the battle for European spots next season and, more importantly, the national championship.
After dismantling Doxa Katokopia 6-1 last weekend, Anorthosis are set to open Round 18 against AEK Kouklion at the Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium in Larnaca on Saturday afternoon at 3pm.
This will be a meeting of the team with the best attack in the league, Anorthosis, who have scored 39 goals so far, against the team with the worst defence away from home. The Kouklion side have conceded 28 times in eight games and they are yet to record a single point away from the Paphiako Stadium.
At the same time in Larnaca, Nea Salamina face Enosis Neon Paralimni at the Ammochostos Stadium, while defending champions APOEL will be looking to extend their unbeaten run on all fronts to 13 games when they visit Aris in Limassol at 6pm.
Omonia are desperate to get back to winning ways after two heavy losses to Apollon and AEL in the league. They take on Alki, who were dismal in their midweek cup clash against lower division strugglers Onisilos Sotira, on Saturday afternoon also at 6pm at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia.
“We are working very hard to start winning again. We have a very good opportunity to do so against Alki. Not because Alki is a weak opponent or anything like that, but simply because that is our next game,” assessed Omonia coach Miguel Angel Lotina.
“It is good to feel some pressure and this is absolutely normal with the big teams such as Omonia. We know that we are a long way behind the teams at the top and that we need to improve to achieve our goals. However, I am confident in this team and we will stop fighting only once the championship is finished,” he added.
On Sunday afternoon at 3pm, in-form AEK host league leaders AEL who will arrive in Larnaca fresh from being eliminated in the Round of 16 of the national cup by APOEL in the midweek.
The home side is chasing sixth spot which leads into the playoffs as they are currently seventh with 26 points, four points behind Omonia.
Two hours later Apollon host Doxa Katokopia at the Tsirion Stadium in Limassol, while at the same time Ermis Aradippou take on Ethnikos Achnas.