By Andreas Vou
FRESH from their recent European adventures, APOEL and Ermis face off on Wednesday night (8pm) for the first piece of silverware of the 2014-15 season in the LTV Super Cup.
Morale in the respective camps is very diferent going into the curtain-raiser to the Cypriot league season which begins on August 23. APOEL secured their passage to the play-off round of the UEFA Champions League last week, which leaves them just two matches away from the group stages of Europe’s top competition.
Ermis, on their debut on the continent, bowed out of the Europa League in the third qualifying round to Swiss side Young Boys.
Nicos Panayiotou’s side earned their place in the Super Cup after they made it to last year’s Cypriot Cup final. Although the trophy is designed to be between the winner of the league and the winner of the cup, the fact that APOEL claimed both titles means Ermis, as runners up in the cup, play against the double winners and have the chance of revenge.
APOEL won the final 2-0, with a goal each for their deadly duo of Argentine playmaker Tomas de Vincenti and Irish striker Cillian Sheridan. The pair have been in irresistible form in this season’s European matches too, sharing the four goals scored over the two legs against HJK Helsinki.
Ermis have made a number of changes to their squad during pre-season with 14 new signings being made in the last two months. Just four players who started against APOEL in last season’s cup final at the end of May played in their previous match against Young Boys just a week ago.
APOEL, on the other hand, have kept the core of last year’s side, with centre-back Marcelo Oliveira being the only player to have left the club this summer of the eleven who started the cup final.
The Nicosia giants go into the game as heavy favourites and will be playing on home soil at the GSP stadium.
However, APOEL are set to travel to Denmark to face Aalborg in the first leg of the Champions League play-off just seven days after the Super Cup which gives Ermis some hope as Giorgos Donis’ men have one eye on that crucial European match.