By Andreas Vou
APOEL won their 20th Cyprus Cup on Wednesday evening following a comfortable 2-0 win over Ermis Aradippou at the GSP Stadium.
The Nicosia giants had not won the trophy since the 2007-08 season but goals from Tomas De Vincenti and Cillian Sheridan ensured that the cup would be going back to Archangelos after a six-year absence.
Following the unsavoury incidents from Saturday’s league meeting between themselves and AEL, APOEL looked happy to be back on the pitch and allowed their feet to do the talking.
It did not take long for Giorgos Donis’ side to get the breakthrough. After some patient build-up play from APOEL, De Vincenti was played through and the Argentine showed great composure to give his side the lead after just six minutes.
APOEL continued to dominate the game and on 28 minutes they doubled their lead. De Vincenti was involved again, laying the ball off to Tiago Gomes who shook off pressure from the Ermis defence before playing the ball across goal with Sheridan on hand for an easy finish to give APOEL a significant lead.
Ermis put up a good fight but were ultimately outplayed by a team with far more experience in the big matches. Nevertheless, the Aradippou club can be more than proud of their efforts for a campaign in which they surpassed everyone’s pre-season expectations.
The club’s deputy chairman, Michalis Andreou, was sporting in defeat: “I want to congratulate APOEL for winning the cup,” before touching on his side’s excellent campaign, saying that he was “completely satisfied” with Ermis’ season and hopes that “next year we will enjoy the same success”.
Long-serving APOEL captain Marinos Satsias, who is retiring, was given a heroes send off after the full-time whistle by his team-mates. The 35-year-old admitted mixed emotions after the game.
“I am happy for the cup success, but my emotions are mixed as my playing days are over. I leave after an excellent season by winning the cup and maybe the league. This cup is dedicated to my team-mate, Kaka, who was not able to be here.”
As Satsias alluded to, unfortunately, the majority of the pre and post-match talk was about the incident which took place between AEL and APOEL on Saturday in the ironically labelled ‘title-decider’, with the Cyprus Football Association meeting on Thursday to discuss the matter.
After APOEL defender Kaka was struck by a firecracker from the crowd at the Tsirion Stadium, the match was called by the officials.
The Brazilian was hit by an object which seemingly pierced the glass in the dugout but the latest claims are that the glass was shattered before the incident, leaving the situation unclear.
Nevertheless, on the field, what is certain is that both AEL and APOEL will be in the qualification rounds of the UEFA Champions League next season, while Ermis advance to the Europa League.