By Iacovos Constantinou
A goal as early as the third minute was enough to give Apollon all three points against league leaders AEL in the Limassol derby throwing the title chase wide open. AEL still top the league but their lead has been reduced to a solitary point from second placed APOEL and three from Apollon.
Apollon got off to a flying start when their French midfielder Meriem darted into the area and was left unchallenged to roll the ball past AEL’s keeper Fagrouch. AEL tried to respond but the well marshalled Apollon defence, with Karypides and Merkis in outstanding form kept them at bay.
AEL did manage to carve out a few openings as the game wore on but it was Apollon who was more dangerous catching them on the break on a number of occasions.
Apollon’s coach Christakis Christophorou paid tribute to his players saying after the game that his team managed to overcome two opponents, AEL and exhaustion, referring to his teams hectic schedule of having to play six games in a less than three weeks.
APOEL’s task against Doxa Katokopia was made all the more easier when the visiting teams keeper was sent off in the fourth minute for upending APOEL’s winger Stathis Aloneftis just outside the box.
Aloneftis, APOEL’s most consistent player this year, notched a hat-trick with Brazilian forward Gustavo Manduca scoring the other two as APOEL thumped five past Doxa.
Doxa’s consolation goal, a candidate for ‘goal of the season’ came from a 40 yard thunderbolt from Nilson.
Anorthosis’ torrid season continued as they slipped to their fourth consecutive defeat against AEK Larnaca where young Cypriot international Englezou excelled with a masterly performance on the left flank.
The Larnaca team took an early lead through Pavlou and doubled their score after a solo effort by Ukrainian striker Ivanko. Anorthosis did pull a goal back late on in the game but it was too little too late.
Enosis Neon Parlimniou’s resurgence continued as they hit five past Alki and closed the gap from Aris Lemesou to just three points. Aris had to settle for a draw with Omonia with the Nicosia team once again being let down by poor finishing. However Aris could have stolen all three points had it not been for a couple of excellent saves from Omonia’s keeper Moreira and a (correctly) disallowed goal in the final minutes of the game.
AEK Kouklion producing one of their best performances of the season defeated Ethnikos Achnas by two goals to one and moved further away from the automatic relegation zone.