THE final round of the regular season in the Cyprus football championship takes place this week, with six games scheduled for Wednesday and one for Thursday.
The fixtures will decide which of the two leading teams – APOEL or AEK – will finish top and have the fixture advantage in the playoffs, the second team to be relegated along with Ayia Napa, and the last team to secure a place in the top tier.
APOEL, who lead AEK by a single point, face a hazardous trip to Limassol to face third-placed Apollonas who are still licking their wounds following their humiliating defeat at the hands of AEK on Sunday.
APOEL, unbeaten away from home this season, go into the game on the back of eight straight wins that stretches back to the beginning of the year.
Apollon meanwhile are something of a Jekyll and Hyde team, winning with consummate ease one week and then being completely outplayed by a relegation-threatened team (Ethnikos) the next.
Captain Nuno Morais and Argentine playmaker Thomas de Vinvcenti will both start the game for defending champions APOEL after serving their suspension while Apollon coach Pedro Emmanuel may decide to drop January signing Maglica and choose the more livewire Abraham Gneki Guie to lead the attack.
AEK have a seemingly easy tie away to Ermis. However coach Thomas Christiansen began warning his players of complacency right after their thrashing of Apollon.
Ermis, despite being safe from automatic relegation, need as many points as possible to carry into the next phase and should prove to be tough opponents for the Larnaca side.
Enosis, the team currently occupying the second automatic relegation slot, travel to Larnaca to face Anorthosis knowing that only a win gives them a slim chance of survival.
It’s a tall order for a team that has just four wins this season against a team who up until recently were favourites for the title.
The final place in the top tier is contested by three teams – Nea Salamina, AEL and Doxa Katokopias.
Nea Salamina have the advantage as a win against Ethnikos Achnas will give them sixth place irrespective of the other results.
However they are up against a team that can still go down in the regular season and a tough game is expected.
This is not to say that either AEL or Doxa have an easier task.
AEL travel to Nicosia to play Omonia who are now just three points away from a European finish and will not take this game lightly.
Doxa entertain Paphos FC at the Makarion and like Ermis they need the points to help their relegation scramble in the playoffs.
Ayia Napa bid farewell to the top flight with a home game against Aris.
All games kick off at 4pm on Wednesday, except for the Omonia v AEL clash which is scheduled for 24 hours later.