By Andreas Vou
APOEL will live to fight for the title another day following the court’s decision to replay the match between themselves and current league leaders AEL after Saturday’s final match of the season was abandoned.
However, APOEL remained largely unsatisfied by the decision as they believed they had valid grounds for all three points to be awarded in their favour.
Going into what was billed the ‘title-decider’ as AEL hosted APOEL at the Tsirion stadium last Saturday, the home side needed just a point to claim the league title while only a victory would have been enough for the visitors.
After a largely uneventful game on the field, the match was brought to a halt in the second half after a firecracker struck APOEL defender Kaka and club doctor Costas Schizas from the AEL section, leading the referee to ultimately postpone the game and let the title be decided in the courtroom.
In the days that followed, a number of theories were put forward; some claimed that the AEL stand was infiltrated by an APOEL fan, while others held that the dugout, which was pierced by the object thrown, was already broken prior to the incident.
Nevertheless, all angles were reviewed and the final outcome deemed that the fairest outcome would be to replay the match from the start rather than at the point at which the game was stopped, at a neutral ground most likely to be in Larnaca on June 4.
APOEL boss Giorgos Donis, following the final decision, stated that he would prefer the fate of the league title to be decided on the field rather than on paper.
“I am a footballing person and we all want the circumstances of the game to be the best and everything to be decided on the playing field,” he told Mega.
The most likely date of the match will be June 4 but a problem not taken into account was that a total of five Cypriot international players, one of AEL and four of APOEL, have already departed to compete in a friendly match in Japan, though the possibility of them returning in time has not been ruled out either.