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Slender win for Apollon, APOEL hit four past Doxa

Roberto Garcia celebrates after scoring Apollon's winner (l)

By Iacovos Constantinou

A last gasp winner by Garcia gave Apollonas a narrow lead over Ermis while in the other first leg semi-final tie APOEL all but booked their place in the final with a resounding 4-1 over Doxa Katokopias.

After a cagey start from both sides at the Tsireion stadium, Apollonas took the lead in the 18th minute through Abraham following some good play by Gaston Sangoy.

Chances were few and far between in the first half with the best one falling to Ermis’s Moran who somehow managed to miss from close range when it was easier to find the net.

Apollon’s striker Papoulis was unlucky to see his effort scrambled off the line and it proved costly as on the stroke of half-time Moran redeemed himself for his earlier miss by setting up Tagbajumi for his team’s equalizer.

Buoyed by their goal, Ermis began the second half strongly and went close to taking the lead through Enrique but his header came back off the post. Alimi missed another great chance to give Ermis the lead when he failed to beat the Apollon keeper Vale when clean through.

The introduction of Roberto Garcia gave Apollon the attacking edge they were lacking and it was only fitting that it was the Spaniard that gave Apollonas the win with a beautiful strike a minute from time.

APOEL coach made eight changes from the side that defeated Apollon last weekend and it showed. In a dour first half APOEL seemed disjointed and predicatable. Despite this, they still managed to score through Alexandrou.

On the other hand Doxa, still fighting to beat relegation, seemed to be on a damage limitation exercise unwilling to push any players forward. However Doxa’s coach Sophocleous realizing that APOEL were having an off day changed his game plan after the break and pushed more players forward.

This paid off as in the 62nd minute their striker Ramos headed the ball past keeper Chiotis giving the away team a precious away goal.

Their joy however was shortlived. Oliveria fired APOEL back into the lead a couple of minutes later and then Charalambides, who up to that point was having a torrid game, bagged a brace to give APOEL a 4-1 win that ultimately sends them into the final in May.

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