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Title hopefuls in Cyprus face tough challenge

APOEL and Omonia drew 2-2 in the first half of the league

Two games that may go a long way this weekend in deciding who will claim the title for the 2015-16 season. On Saturday leaders APOEL are at home to their arch rivals Omonia while the two teams just off the top, AEK and Anorthosis, clash the following day in Larnaca.

Despite leading the race APOEL go into this game with one very worrying trend. So far, in their five games against the so-called ‘big teams’ they have yet to record a win, losing three and drawing the other two.

APOEL’s Georgian coach Getsbaia is expected to make just one (enforced) change to the side that defeated Ethnikos last week with Mario Sergio coming in for the injured Marios Antoniades. Cypriot striker Pieros Sotiriou is set to retain his place at the top of the attack at the expense of star signing Cavengahi.

Omonia has its own shortfallings to overcome as they have not defeated their local rivals in ten attempts. The last time they did was back in April of 2013 when APOEL’s Efraim, then of Omonia, scored twice in a 3-0 win.

With Nuno Asis back from suspension and Sheridan and Kirm back to full fitness Omonia’s coach Vladan Milojevic is faced with a pleasant selection headache. Asis is expected to take his place in the starting eleven while Skembri and Badibanga should keep their places up front.

AEK entertain Anorthosis at the Antonis Papadopoulos the following day with both teams vying for the three points.

AEK is fully aware that their recent drubbing of Anorthosis in the cup will count for nothing especially as they will be without the suspended Catala, Tetey and Marciniak while their talisman, Tomas, will face a late fitness test with the odds not being in his favour.

Following a run of poor results, Anorthosis’ coach Andre Paous wants to get his team back on track and a win against AEK will see them move into (at least) second place.

No major injury concerns for the Famagusta team with their top scorer Ndlovou expected to retain his place in attack and Holgersson and Laifis returning at the heart of the defence following their one match ban.

At the other end of the table things are even more complicated.

Six points separates six teams, from eighth to thirteenth, with the team occupying the thirteenth place at the end of the regular season relegated along with Ayia Napa.

Paphos FC, currently occupying the second relegation slot, is  expected to take all three points against Ayia Napa while Enosis, level on points with the Paphos team, has a tougher tie against sixth placed Nea Salamina.

AEL, four points off the automatic relegation slot are at home to mid-placed Doxa while Aris are at home to Ethnikos Achnas.

The final game of the round will take place on Monday between Ermis Aradippou and Apollon.

Saturday: APOEL vs Omonia (15.00), Enosis vs Nea Salamina (17.00), AEL vs Doxa (19.00)

Sunday: AEK vs Anorthosis (15.00), Paphos FC vs Ayia Napa (16.00), Aris vs Ethnikos (18.00)

Monday: Ermis Aradippou vs Apollon (19.00)

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