By Iacovos Constantinou
FOUR more rounds to go before the end of the football season and with the exception of the two teams rooted at the bottom of their respective groups, Anorthosis and AEK Kouklion, the remaining sides have something to play for other than their pride.
The most interesting tie is from the title-challenging group between third-placed Apollon, and the team five points above them, APOEL, at the Tsirion stadium in Limassol.
Apollon know that only a win can keep their hopes alive for a Champions League position finish. They will be without their leading marksman Gaston Sangoy who is out for the rest of the season but coach Christoforou should be able to recall Paboulis to the starting eleven as he has fully recovered from injury.
APOEL need to bounce back from their defeat last weekend as they cannot drop further behind leaders AEL with so few remaining games. Greek coach Donis is spoilt for choice as he has all his players available for selection.
Leaders AEL travel to Larnaca to face Ermis with a number of selection problems. Dede is suspended while defensive stalwart Ouon and striker Kaluderovic join long term absentee Sachetti on the sidelines. Coach Petev was dealt a further blow on Thursday when midfielder Ohene injured himself in and is doubtful for the game.
On the other hand Ermis Aradippou want to lock down fourth place as it leads to a more favourable path in the Europa League and with Omonia just three points behind, know that even a draw will keep them well on course.
Anorthosis have not won a game since their new coach Kostenoglou took charge almost three months ago. They face injury-plagued, but thirsty for points Omonia at home, in what should be an open and attacking game.
Aris need the win against doomed AEK Kouklion at the Tsirion stadium to make a decisive step in maintaining their first division status. Ton Caanen’s outfit is in excellent form and should have few problems in seeing off the Kouklia team.
Ethnikos Achnas play hosts to indifferent AEK Larnaca in a game they have to win. They are still fuming however from some rather dubious, to say the least, refereeing decisions last Sunday and have been calling all week for better and fairer refereeing.
In the last game of the weekend group B leaders Nea Salamina take on relegation ‘favourites’ Doxa Katokopias at the Ammochostos stadium. Nea Salamina are strong at home and Doxa will have to be at their very best if they are to get anything out of this game.
Saturday, May 3: Group A – Apollon v APOEL, Anorthosis v Omonia (18.00), Ermis v AEL (19.30)
Sunday May 4: Group B – Aris v AEK Kouklion, Ethnikos Achnas v AEK Larnaca, Nea Salamina v Doxa (all at 17.00)