By Iacovos Constantinou
Two goals in extra time by substitute Andreas Papathanasiou sent Ermis through to the final of the Coca-Cola cup where they will now meet favourites APOEL on May 21.
It was a historic day for underdogs Ermis Aradippou who defeated cup holders Apollon by 4-1 in a pulsating game. After a goalless first half Ermis took the lead through their top scorer Marco Tagbajumi just after the break. Their joy was shortlived as three minutes later a blunder by their keeper Nikolaos Arabadzis allowed Apollon’s Gaston Sangoy to level the score and put Apollon back on track.
With six minutes on the clock however Ermis levelled the aggregate score and sent the game into extra time. With a goal either side of the extra time break team captain Papathanasiou made sure that Ermis’ fairy tale run would see them go all the way.
Ermis coach Nikos Panayiotou was ecstatic after the game singing the praises for his unsung heroes. “Today we had passion, we had determination. This is just the beginning of much bigger things to come.” In an apparent jibe directed against the ‘bigger teams’ of Cyprus football he said, “today we played with our hearts, not with pockets full of money”.
Their chairman Loukas Fanieros was equally happy and said that they have now proven that they are a team to be reckoned with. “We shall face APOEL in the final. They are a good team but we shall win the cup. All we need is a bit of luck,” he concluded.
As expected APOEL had no problems in reaching the final despite fielding a completely different team from the one that faced Omonia on Saturday.
In an almost empty Makario stadium APOEL put four past Doxa Katokopias (8-1 on aggregate) with Christos Pipinis, Cesar Santin and a brace from Aldo Adorno getting the goals.
This is the thirtieth time that APOEL will feature in a cup final as opposed to Ermis’ first!