By Iacovos Constantinou
AEL was the team that gained most on the last day of the regular season in Cyprus as they increased their lead at the top from one to three points while Enosis Neon Paralimni, who graced the top division for 45 years became the second team after Alki to be relegated.
Despite a poor start to the game against AEK Kouklion, AEL managed to take the lead seven minutes before the break through a Monteiro free kick. AEL rode their luck and having survived some early second half pressure hit back with two more goals from Dede and Monteiro. The icing on the cake came five minutes from the end when Monteiro completed his hat-rick.
The Nicosia derby between Omonia and APOEL ended in a goalless draw with Omonia being far superior in the first half and APOEL controlling the second. It was a game where defending from both sides was shambolic and it is a mystery how the game finished goalless. Referee Mashias twice stopped the game and threatened to abandon it altogether after the assistant ref was hit by projectiles thrown from the crowd.
Apollon managed to secure all three points against Aris through their captain Merkis who hit the winner in the dying second of the game. Apollon are now level on points with APOEL in second place. Aris were desperately unlucky not to get anything out of this game as they penned back their opponents for most parts of the game and missed some glorious scoring opportunites.
Enosis have only themselves to blame as a win against Ethnikos Achnas would have allowed them the chance to beat the drop in the playoffs. They even took the lead through a Ttofas penalty but Ethnikos fought back and equalised before the break through Lazic. In the second half Ethnikos were the better side and should feel disappointed for not collecting all three points.
Ermis Aradippou continued their impressive run defeating Anorthosis 1-0. Even though there are still many points to play for Ermis looks capable of holding onto fourth spot, a position that gives them European football for next season. Anorthosis have now gone seven games without a win and collecting just one point in the process.
In the two other games AEK Larnaca scored lated against Doxa Katokopias through Tomas to pick up three points while Nea Salamina, with two goals from Mengolo and Leon secured all three points from Alki.
The playoffs for positions 1-6 begins this Sunday while the games that will decide the third team to be relegated (7-12) will be played on Saturday.