By Andreas Vou and Mike Collett
Apollon have been drawn against Villarreal, Borussia Monchengladbach and FC Zurich in Group A of the UEFA Europa League for the 2014-15 campaign.
Christakis Christoforou’s side pulled off a shock 4-1 win in the Russian capital on Thursday evening to defeat Lokomotiv Moscow and progress to the group stages 5-1 on aggregate.
The Limassol club are Cyprus’ only representatives in the competition as Ermis Aradippou went out in the third qualifying round while Omonia and AEL were knocked out in the play-off round.
Last year was the club’s first ever qualification to the group stages of European competition where they finished third in their Europa League group with one draw against Lazio and a solitary win against Legia Warsaw away from home.
Following on from APOEL’s Champions League success on Tuesday, Apollon’s appearance in the Europa League this year makes it the eighth time in seven seasons in which a Cypriot team has made it to the group stages of one of Europe’s club competitions.
Elsewhere, holders Sevilla will face former winners Feyenoord plus Standard Liege of Belgium and HNK Rijeka of Croatia when they begin the defence of their trophy.
Europe’s second-tier competition, which comprises 48 teams in 12 groups, has been given added lustre this season with the winners qualifying for at least the Champions League playoffs next term.
The other title favourites include former European champions PSV Eindhoven and Inter Milan, former UEFA Cup winners Tottenham Hotspur and Napoli, and former European Cup Winners’ Cup holders Everton.
Tottenham will play Besiktas, who were knocked out of the Champions League playoffs by Spurs’ arch-rivals Arsenal on Wednesday, Partizan Belgrade and Greek team Asteras.
Everton will face Lille, Wolfsburg and FC Krasnodar while Scottish champions Celtic meet Salzburg, Dinamo Zagreb and Romanians FC Astra.
The group stage begins on September 18 with the final in Warsaw on May 27.
Group A: Villarreal, Borussia Monchengladbach, FC Zurich, Apollon Limassol
Group B: FC Copenhagen, Club Brugge, Torino, Helsinki
Group C: Tottenham Hotspur, Besiktas, Partizan Belgrade, Tripolis
Group D: FC Salzburg, Celtic, Dinamo Zagreb, Astra
Group E: PSV Eindhoven, Panathinaikos, Estoril, Dynamo Moscow
Group F: Inter Milan, Dnipro, St-Etienne, Qarabag
Group G: Sevilla, Standard Liege, Feyenoord, Rijeka
Group H: Lille, Wolfsburg, Everton, Krasnodar
Group I: Napoli, Sparta Prague, Young Boys, Slovan Bratislava
Group J: Dynamo Kiev, Steaua Bucharest, Rio Ave, Aalborg
Group K: Fiorentina, PAOK, Guingamp, Dinamo Minsk
Group L: Metalist Kharkiv, Trabzonspor, Legia Warsaw, Lokeren