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Leaders AEK falter again, chasing pack close in at the top

In one of the most pulsating games of the season so far, ten-man Anorthosis came back from two down to beat Apollon 3-2

By Iacovos Constantinou

Leaders AEK faltered for a second consecutive week, this time against Nea Salamina, allowing Anorthosis and APOEL to move to within one and two points off the top of the table.

Elsewhere, relegation-threatened Enosis and Paphos FC could only draw while Ermis went down to a last-gasp penalty against Omonia.

In one of the most pulsating games of the season so far, ten-man Anorthosis came back from two goals down to clinch a most unexpected victory against Apollon.
Even the most die-hard Anorthosis fans could not have expected such a turnaround in events after Holgersson scored an own goal to give Apollon a two-goal lead in the 58th minute. Eight minutes earlier, the home side had been reduced to ten after Gabriel got sent off for hitting an opponent.

At that point Apollon, who were by far the better team from the outset, were cruising and it seemed a matter of time before they got the third.

However, as happens so often in football, when you fail to take your chances you are made to pay.

Anorthosis got the break they needed when Hollgerson pulled one back in the 66th minute and the complexion of the game changed completely. Lifted by the goal, the Famagusta team took control and pressed forward for the equaliser.

They were rewarded when Laifis beat keeper Vale from the edge of the box with 15 minutes still on the clock.

Both teams went for the win but it was Apollon who came closest but were denied by the post with Anorthosis keeper Koprivec well beaten.

Then with seconds left Ndlovou fell in the box and the referee (wrongly) pointed to the spot. Pele sent Vale the wrong way to give all three points to Anorthosis.

For a second consecutive game AEK were left to play the best part of the 90 minutes with ten men, this time against Nea Salamina.

AEK’s Polish left-back Marciniak got a straight red for a two-footed challenge.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, AEK were the better team and could have taken all three points if their top scorer Alves and tricky winger Tetey showed more composure in front of goal.

For their part Salamina seemed content with a point.

Champions APOEL continued their surge back to the top with a convincing 1-0 win over AEL in Limassol.

The only goal of the game came early in the second half from their Portuguese captain Nuno Morais who beat Degra from the just inside the area with a fierce drive.

The game was riddled with some amateurish mistakes by the referee who managed to infuriate both sets of players.

Ethnikos meanwhile were unable to take advantage of their superiority and even though they took the lead through Pinceli, Paphos fought back and equalized, earning a valuable point in their fight for survival.

Enosis were also unable to take the three points against Aris with the teams sharing the spoils in a 2-2 draw.

Of the relegation threatened teams, Ermis were the worst off after the weekend games as they lost to Omonia. Sheridan hit the winner from a fiercely disputed penalty deep into injury time.

Doxa beat bottom of the table Ayia Napa 2-0 in the final game of the round on Monday night, in a match interrupted for 25 minutes due to floodlight failure.

Anorthosis vs Apollon 3-2
Ethnikos vs Pafos FC 1-1
Omonia vs Ermis 1-0
Paralimni vs Aris 2-2
AEL vs APOEL 0-1
Nea Salamina vs AEK 0-0

Video highlights courtesy of the Cyprus Football Association

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