By Iacovos Constantinou
THE three teams leading the race for the championship recorded easy wins on Sunday against teams at the wrong end of the table. AEL and Apollonas both hit three past Alki and AEK Larnaca respectively while APOEL thumped six past hapless AEK Kouklion.
AEL, playing against relegated Alki, raced into a 3-0 lead inside the first thirty minutes with Monteiro netting twice and Oriol getting the third on the half hour mark. From then on AEL stepped down a gear and used the game as a strong training session!
AEK Kouklion started the game brightly against APOEL and were unlucky not to take the lead in the fifth minute when Wesslem’s goal-bound effort was kicked off the line by APOEL’s Sergio with keeper Pardo well beaten.
Having survived the early scare APOEL began to dictate play and within 25 minutes the game was all but over as a brace from De Vincenti, a Manduca penalty and a red card for AEK’s Pitsillos gave the visiting team a 3-0 lead. AEK managed to reduce the deficit through Garpozis before the break but APOEL proved too strong for the 10-man AEK team. Alexandrou and substitute Santin with a couple completed the rout.
Third placed Apollon made light work of their seemingly difficult clash against AEK Larnaca who seemed to have their minds on Wednesday’s Cup quarter-final second leg tie against Ermis. Goals from Karypidis and Sangoy early on, put Apollon in the driving seat with Papoullis notching the third two minutes from the end.
Enosis Neon Paralimni kept their chances of avoiding automatic relegation alive as they drew 1-1 against Doxa Katokopias and now trail Aris by just a couple of points. Aris, trailing by two goals at the break against Ermis Aradippou, and reduced to ten men, almost managed a heroic comeback. Pintceli grabbed a goal back early in the second half but were unable to complete the comeback despite some nervy moments for the Ermis defence.
Omonia kept the pressure on Ermis by defeating Ethnikos Achnas by the narrowest of margins in a game where Omonia keeper Moreira was the only reason why Ethnikos did not get anything out of this game. Young Cypriot striker Roushias scored the only goal of the game.
Anorthosis and Nea Salamina played out a dull 1-1 draw in an empty Antonis Papadopoulos stadium. The draw secured Anorthosis’ place in the first group play-offs but this is little consolation for a team that early on in the season were considered as title favourites. They trail fifth-placed Omonia by eight points and are a whopping eighteen points from the top.