By Andreas Vou
Ermis have won the first piece of silverware of the 2014-15 season in the most dramatic fashion on Wednesday night after defeating APOEL 2-1 in the Super Cup, thanks to a 95th minute free-kick from Giannis Taralidis just minutes after the Nicosia club had levelled the match.
The traditional season opener is considered a friendly but the Aradippou side will be elated with their fine display over last year’s double-winners and will be equally delighted to get revenge over the side that beat them in the Cyprus Cup Final at the end of the last campaign.
APOEL manager Giorgos Donis made just one change to the side which beat HJK Helsinki 2-0 last Wednesday with Giorgos Efrem, a new summer signing from Omonia, coming in for Constantinos Charalambides.
Ermis also made just the single change from their European encounter against Young Boys, with Spanish forward Luis Moran taking the place of Paulinho.
The two sides had previously met on four occasions in 2014 with APOEL winning three of them.
However, no sooner than the referee had blown the whistle for the beginning of the match, it was Ermis who found themselves 1-0 ahead. One of the club’s 14 summer signings, Brazilian forward Belusso broke through a sleeping APOEL defence to give his side a shock lead.
With APOEL’s Champions League play-off tie just seven days away, many felt that the European game could be a distraction, and it seemed to be the case.
Donis’ side were slow in picking themselves up after the early goal conceded and it was Ermis who looked more likely to get a second.
In APOEL’s previous six official matches, Cillian Sheridan and Tomas de Vincenti had scored twelve goals between them, with the Irishman having scored five and the Argentine seven. Their best chance of the half fell to de Vincenti on 40 minutes but, uncharacteristically, the playmaker failed to put away a one-on-one goal-scoring opportunity, sending an effort high and wide of the mark.
In the second half, it was Ermis again who came bursting out of the traps. Moran came within a whisker away of vindicating his manager’s decision to start him but his volley grazed the post.
APOEL responded well and on 50 minutes conjured up another golden chance, this time falling to Vinicius – the Brazilian midfielder’s effort, however, went just shy of the woodwork.
Try as they might, the champions simply could not muster any sustained pressure on Martin Bogatinov’s goal and it looked like Ermis would hold on for a well-earned victory but, on 92 minutes, Dragan Zarkovic put the ball in his own net from a Stathis Aloneftis corner.
However, the drama was not over. With the game set for penalties, Ermis earned a free-kick. Up stepped Taralidis who struck the ball beyond the reach of Tassos Kissas for an epic finish to an incredible match, handing Ermis victory in their first ever Super Cup appearance.