By Iacovos Constantinou
This weekend sees the beginning of the playoffs with the relegation (positions 7-12) fixtures being played on Saturday and the group (positions 1-6) that will challenge for the championship on Sunday. Each team will have a total of thirty points (10 games) to play for so the final standings in both groups may change considerably.
Leaders AEL travel to the Antonis Papadopoulos to face Anorthosis and anything but a win for the Limassol team will come as a surprise given Anorthosis’s poor form of late. Anorthosis have not won since January, with morale being at an all-time low, and given that a number of key players will be missing through suspensions and injuries it’s hard to see them getting anything out of the game.
Apollon, three points behind AEL, entertain Omonia in what should be a very close encounter. Apollon have not been very impressive lately and in their last game against lowly Aris they needed a last gasp winner to collect all three points. Their defence seems suspect, and Omonia’s tricky forward line is bound to pose a lot of problems.
APOEL’s impressive run of nine straight wins was halted last Wednesday and they will be tested yet again against Ermis Aradippou who have yet to lose at home. Both teams need the points, APOEL to stay within striking distance of the leaders and Ermis to hang onto the prized fourth position.
Two more teams will follow Alki and Enosis to the second division and it should be a tussle between Aris, AEK Kouklion and Ethnikos Achnas as just three points separates these teams.
Despite being at the bottom of the group, Aris Lemesou have been in fine form of late and were extremely unlucky on Wednesday when they lost to championship hopefuls Apollon. They will have to overcome the indifferent but superior AEK Larnaca in Limassol.
AEK Kouklion travel to Larnaca to play against Nea Salamina whose biggest problem this season was their inconsistency. The result will hinge on which Nea Salamina turns out for the game.
The last game of the group is between Ethnikos Achnas and Doxa Katokopias with the third of the relegation candidates Ethnikos capable of taking all three points and preserving their two point difference from AEK Kouklion
All games start at 4pm except Ermis Aradippou v APOEL that begins at 5.30pm on Sunday.