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Title race wide open after leaders AEK lose

AEL celebrate a 2-0 away win over leaders AEK in the Cyprus football championship

By Iacovos Constantinou

THE title race in Cyprus was thrown wide open as AEK lost 2-0 at home to AEL allowing their nearest challengers, Anorthosis and APOEL, to move to within three and four points of the leaders following their easy wins over Ayia Napa and Enosis.

Elsewhere, Apollon and Omonia drew 0-0 while Ethnikos moved well clear of the relegation zone after defeating Ermis Aradippou 2-1

Few expected AEL to get anything out of their game against the runaway leaders especially as AEK were unbeaten since October and their opponents were hovering just above the relegation zone.

AEL got off to a great start, taking the lead through Sardiniero in the second minute. Their task was made easier on the half hour when AEK captain Catala was sent off for hauling down Piech when the AEL striker was clean through on goal.

Despite playing with a man short, AEK still managed to dictate play but the few chances they created were either off target or easily handled by AEL keeper Degra. It was evident that AEK were missing their two key midfielders, Tomas and Bolievic, through suspension.

As the game progressed and 10-man AEK began to tire, the visitors began to venture forward with greater ease. On one such occasion they doubled the score.
With 15 minutes to go, AEL’s tricky winger Meska crossed from the right and an unmarked Feltcher headed past Tonio to seal AEL’s triumph.

Second-placed Anorthosis took advantage of AEK’s slip-up by thrashing relegation bound Ayia Napa 7-1.
Schwehlen opened the score for the Famagusta team in the 14th minute with Makris ending the rout with an 86th minute penalty. In between, Martinez, Pele, Orlandi, Calvo and Ndlovou also got on the scoresheet while Ayia Napa’s consolation came from Loizides.

In Limassol, Apollon and Omonia played out a goalless draw with neither side happy with the result.
Omonia were the better team creating a host of chances but were unable to beat Apollon’s keeper Vale.

On the other hand Apollon, for a second consecutive game, were poor and ineffective. They were fortunate to finish the game with eleven players as referee Trattos saw nothing wrong with a head high challenge by Angelis on Omonia’s Maltese striker Skembri.

Despite failing to impress, APOEL were the better side and deservedly defeated Enosis 3-0.
Morais opened the score with a fortunate cross that seemed to evade everybody and three minutes later Cavenaghi doubled the score from the penalty spot. Winter signing Yianiotas slammed in the third midway into the second half.

In the remaining two weekend games, Ethnikos scored an important win against Ermis with Atanda and Poutziouris netting, while Aris ‘stole’ a point against Doxa as Ranos equalised Carlito’s opener in the fourth minute of added time.

Paphos drew 2-2 at home to Nea Salamina in the final game of the round on Monday evening.

Apollon vs Omonia 0-0
Ayia Napa vs Anorthosis 1-7
AEK vs AEL 0-2
Ermis vs Ethnikos Achnas 1-2
Aris vs Doxa 1-1
APOEL vs Enosis 3-0

Highlights courtesy of the Cyprus Football Association

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