By Iacovos Constantinou
THE two teams leading the championship race, AEL and APOEL, strengthened their position at the top as they increased their advantage from third-placed Apollon.
In the survival scramble Doxa Katokopias can no longer feel safe as they are just a couple of points away from the relegation zone.
In one of their best performances so far this season, champions APOEL thrashed a dreadful Apollon 3-0. The Nicosia giants were in control from the outset, attacking with verve and on the rare occasions that Apollon broke forward, they defended resolutely.
APOEL’s leading scorer Gustavo Manduca opened the score midway through the first half while man-of-the match Cillian Sheridan doubled the score with a superb solo effort. The icing on the cake came right at the end when Vinicius finished off a great APOEL move.
AEL had few problems against Ermis Aradippou as they raced into a three-goal lead before the break. Their captain Nicolaou got his first goal of the season with Bebe and Oriol getting the other two. Monteiro finished off the rout mid-way through the second half.
AEL have been sitting at the top of the table for 17 consecutive weeks now and boast the best defensive record.
Omonia’s new coach Kaiafas finally landed his first win against Anorthosis but needed a helping hand from referee Trattos who awarded Omonia a very soft penalty. In the fracas that ensued the penalty decision Anorthosis’ Paolo Jorge was red carded and Efraim netted the equaliser.
Anorthosis had got off to a great start when their leading scorer Colautti gave them an early lead. The team from Famagusta controlled play and could have netted a second until the referee’s decision changed the course of the game. Efraim with a second, and Skembri towards the end of the game completed the score for Omonia.
Aris Limassol came from behind to beat AEK Kouklion 2-1 in a game that both teams had to win. Turan was Aris’ hero with both goals while AEK had taken the lead through Aramba. As things stand now only a minor miracle can save AEK from the drop while Aris have it all to play for.
Doxa, following their 3-1 loss at home to Nea Salamina, are now looking over their shoulders with both Ethnikos and Aris within striking range. Nea Salamina were much the better side with their goals coming from Pantos and Eze (2). Leandro got Doxa’s consolation.
AEK Larnaca were held to a goalless draw against Ethnikos Achnas who had their goalkeeper Koundoul to thank, as he kept AEK at bay with off a string of excellent saves.