Cyprus Mail
Cyprus football

Aris relegated as title battle goes down to the wire

Dejected: Aris have been relegated into the second division

By Iacovos Constantinou
ARIS have joined AEK Kouklion, Enosis and Alki in the second division after they were relegated following defeat to Doxa in Nicosia.
Nothing changed at the top of the table as the three leading teams recorded wins and everything will be decided on the last day when leaders AEL take on second-placed APOEL.
Aris had to avoid defeat to stand any chance of staying in the top flight but fellow strugglers Doxa were the better team on the day and won 2-0. A goal in each half from Ramos and Carlitos were enough to guarantee Doxa first division status for next season.
Doxa’s third coach for the season Ioannou said after the game: “This is one of the happiest days of my life. I am proud of working with this group of players.”
Aris coach Ton Caanen admitted that his team did not play well on the day and continued: “You can beat your opponents but not the system.”
Ethnikos Achnas made sure of their first division stay with a win over group leaders Nea Salamina with Aurelio grabbing the winner from the penalty spot. The referee’s decision infuriated the Nea Salamina players as it appeared that there was no offence.
AEL came back from the dead with two goals in the last five minutes to beat Omonia at the GSP stadium. The Nicosia giants had eleven players on the sidelines and fielded a number of youngsters, but still managed to take a 2-0 lead early in the second half.
However Hadjivassilis who had netted the second, got his marching orders with a second yellow card when he took off his shirt to celebrate. From that moment on AEL took full control and hit back with goals from Oriol, a penalty from Monteiro and a 94th minute strike from Embalo.
APOEL had no such problems as they hit eight past hapless Anorthosis. Greek coach Donis praised his players’ commitment throughout the season and said the defending champions “have two finals to go. We shall work hard and take one final at a time”.
Brazilian defender Kaka opened the score in the fifth minute and when Anorthosis defender Economou was sent off for tripping Northern Irish forward Sheridan in the penalty area when through on goal it was all over. Tomas de Vincenti grabbed a hat-trick, Kaka a brace with Amorin, Sheridan, and Sergio also getting on the scoreboard.
This was Anorthosis’ worst defeat since season 1936-37 and irate fans demanded that players hand over their Anorthosis shirts – some of whom obliged!
Apollon lost all hope for the championship despite their emphatic 5-1 drubbing of cup finalists Ermis. They can still finish in second place should APOEL lose their final game.
Greek forward Papoulis and Abraham got a couple with Lopes finishing off the rout. Abraham, who was drafted into the side following Sangoy’s injury has now netted six times in four games.
In the last game of the weekend the AEK teams, from Kouklia and Larnaca played out a goalless unwatchable draw.

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Iacovos Constantinou