By Iacovos Constantinou
There were no significant changes in either the championship race or the relegation battle as four of the weekend games ended in draws and the two that had a winner were of no relevance. However there was one big loser from the weekend games and that was Cyprus refereeing.
In the Limassol derby between Apollon and AEL the ref wrongly disallowed a goal for each side, and gave away a soft (to say the least) penalty leaving both sides feeling hard done by.
Apollon were by far the better team over the ninety minutes and if they had kept their cool in front of goal they could have wrapped up the game before the break. They needed sixty three minutes to break the deadlock when Lopez finally succeeded in beating AEL keeper Fagrouch from just inside the box.
AEL were a shadow of the team that has topped the league for such a long time. Their usually impregnable defence was all over the place while their forward line was unable to break through their opponents rearguard.
They needed a highly dubious penalty decision fifteen minutes from time to salvage a point. They could have won it though if the referee had not disallowed what appeared to be a perfectly good goal a couple of minutes from time. This would have been rough justice for Apollon who themselves had a perfectly good goal disallowed earlier on in the game.
In Nicosia, Omonia and APOEL fought another goalless draw in a game where chances were few and far between. Apart from the first half hour where APOEL were dominant and had carved out a few openings the rest of the game was poor.
The only other point worth mentioning was the ref’s decision not to award APOEL a penalty in the 75th minute. It was not so much his decision not to award the penalty, when Manduca was clearly fouled in the penalty area, but the explanation he gave that caused an uproar. Ref Nicolaides, who had an otherwise good game, essentially claimed that ‘he played the advantage’.
In the final group A game Ermis Aradippou defeated Anorthosis by 2-1 with Tagbanjumi getting both goals for Ermis.
Despite taking an early lead through Thuram, Aris were left to rue a number of missed chances as Ethnikos Achnas managed to equalise five minutes from time.
AEK Kouklion’s slim hopes of survival were kept alive even though they could only draw against Doxa Katokopias. Doxa though will be the happier of the two as they maintained the two point distance from the relegation zone.
Nea Salamina defeated AEK Larnaca and increased their lead at the top of group B to six points.