By Andreas Vou
APOEL went down to a 1-0 defeat against Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday night as Edinson Cavani was again the difference between the two teams just as he was two weeks ago in the Cypriot capital.
The defeat mathematically rules out APOEL’s chances of progressing to the knockout stages of the competition but Barcelona’s 2-0 win in Amsterdam over Ajax in Group F’s other match means the battle for third place, which equals progression to the Europa League, is very much on.
APOEL have amassed just one point in their opening four group matches and sit bottom of the group yet Ajax, in third, have two points, leaving the Cypriots with every chance of continuing their European campaign in the new year.
The big surprise before kick-off was Giorgos Donis’ decision to start teenager Nicholas Ioannou in the absence of first choice left-backs Marios Antoniades and John Arne Riise.
Unfortunately for the youngster, he came up against an excellent Loucas Moura who was head and shoulders above everybody else on the field on the night.
No sooner than the game had started, APOEL were 1-0 down. Moura found space on the right before crossing in towards Cavani. The Uruguayan’s shot on the bounce squirmed beyond Urko Pardo, on to the far post, and into the net.
APOEL were restricted to very little in front of goal but certainly had the best chance of the night. On 12 minutes, PSG keeper Salvatore Sirigu made a mess of a header from Vinicius, with the ball falling to Nuno Morais inside the six-yard-box, but the Portuguese midfielder blazed over the bar.
PSG had a frustrating night in front of goal as they spurned a number of chances to seal a comfortable win but Cavani was again the difference. Nevertheless, APOEL still have a lot to play for in the remaining two matches.