By Iacovos Constantinou
APOEL’s stay at the top of the table lasted just four days as they were unexpectedly beaten by Ermis Aradippou on Saturday, while AEL edged past Anorthosis in a seven-goal thriller.
In the relegation scramble, Doxa’s win means that three teams are separated by just a couple of points.
Few expected Ermis to end APOEL’s 23-match unbeaten run but they proved more than a match for the champions. APOEL were lethargic and predictable and their coach Donis assumed responsibility for the defeat.
Tagbanjumi gave Ermis the lead early in the second half with APOEL unable to break down a resolute Ermis rearguard until the 80th minute when defender Antoniades equalised from close range. And just when everybody was expecting APOEL to turn the game around, Zarkovic netted the winner five minutes from time.
AEL took full advantage of APOEL’s defeat after overcoming a stubborn Anorthosis 4-3 in Limassol. It was a see-saw battle of a game with both teams leading at one stage. AEL’s most valuable player of the season, Monteiro, came to the rescue once again with two goals, the second late on that proved to be the winner.
Apollon had the chance to get within two points of APOEL but they failed to defeat Omonia in their game on Sunday. Apollon had taken the lead in the 36th minute against the run of play through Abraham but two late strikes from Omonia’s Maltese international Skembri were enough to give the Nicosia giants all three points.
Doxa revived their chances of remaining in the top flight when they defeated fellow strugglers Ethnikos Achnas by a solitary goal. This was Doxa’s first win since they crushed Alki back in February.
Aris continued their effort to beat the drop with a draw against AEK Larnaca. Aris had taken the lead through Yousef but a 73rd minute penalty by Pavlou levelled the score. Aris’ coach Ton Caanen who was dismissed by the referee said after the game: “It was a fair result but I believe that the penalty decision was a harsh one. We managed to collect five points from two very difficult away games. I am proud of my players.”
In the last game of the weekend Nea Salamina crushed AEK Kouklion 4-1. The team from Kouklia have accepted the fact that they will be relegated as they are now eleven points adrift of safety with just four games remaining.