By Iacovos Constantinou
ANORTHOSIS, a team in disarray both on and off the field, face the unenviable task of facing league leaders AEL in a game they dare not lose.
The Famagusta team is in dire financial straits, with debts expected to reach €17 million come the end of the current season. They have already been knocked out of the cup and the championship is beyond their reach as they trail AEL by 13 points.
Their only glimmer of hope is finishing in a position that will give them a ticket into the Europa League.
However it appears that their recently appointed Greek coach Nicos Kostenoglou is well aware of the difficulties ahead and said yesterday that he is not all that concerned with the result but said that it is more important for his team to put in an improved performance.
AEL meanwhile begin life without the league’s top scorer Orlando Sa, who was transferred to Legia Warsaw earlier this week in a move that reportedly boosted AEL’s coffers by almost €500.000. They have not lost to the Famagusta team in the league for almost three years.
APOEL return to Larnaca for the second time in three days to face Alki again but this time anything other than a win will be considered a disaster. APOEL, who rested a number of players in Wednesday’s scoreless cup game should prove too strong for the team that has one of the worst, if not the worst, points tally in the history of football, -35!
Third placed Apollon entertain Enosis Neon Paralimni in what may prove a tough game for the home side. Apollon, with three consecutive defeats in league and cup games will need to improve to overcome a resurgent Enosis who thumped four past Anorthosis last week.
AEK Larnaca’s coach Floros Nicolaou said recently that his team will concentrate on the cup as they have no chance of competing for a place in the first play-off group. They face Ermis Aradippou on Sunday in the league and three days later, on Wednesday, in the first leg of the quarter-final of the cup. Ermis should have few problems in recording their 13th league win to stay in touch with the leading group.
Omonia has shown some improvement since the removal of their Spanish coach Lotina, and may prove too strong for struggling AEK Kouklion.
Aris, just one place below the team from Kouklia, will try to take advantage of any slip-ups from their fellow strugglers by beating Nea Salamina while Doxa Katokopias take on Ethnikos Achnas in an indifferent game with both teams safe from relegation.
Saturday, February 15th:
Doxa Katokopias – Ethnikos Achnas (15.00)
Aris Limassol – Nea Salamina (17.00)
Omonia – AEK Kouklion (18.00)
Sunday, February 16th
Anorthosis – AEL (15.00)
Apollon – Enosis Neon Paralimniou (17.00)
Ermis Aradippou – AEK Larnaca (17.00)