ALL eyes will be on Sunday’s top of the table clash between AEK and APOEL at the GSZ stadium in Larnaca which could go a long way in deciding the eventual champion for the season.
In the relegation scrap, Ethnikos Achnas seem doomed unless they can stage a remarkable comeback, beginning this Sunday against Doxa.
More than 5,000 AEK supporters are expected to turn up for the crunch clash against APOEL where a win will see their team overtake the defending champions at the top of the table courtesy of their superior head-to-head record
AEK coach Tomas Christiansen could not stress enough the importance of Sundays fixture, describing it as a ‘final’ in his pre-game press conference, while striker Alves urged all AEK fans to show up at the ground.
Christiansen has an almost full squad to choose from and is expected to reunite the defensive partnership of Catala and Murillio, the latter having regained match fitness following a lengthy injury.
It will also be the first time that AEK’s winter signing Trickovski will come up against the team where he enjoyed the biggest successes, culminating in the memorable Champions League quarter-final run in 2012.
A win for APOEL will give them a six-point advantage over AEK and will put them a step closer to their fourth consecutive championship.
APOEL coach Temur Ketsbaia is sweating over the fitness of defender Carlao, a vital cog in the league’s meanest backline. The odds are against the Brazilian and shoul he fail to recover in time Alexandrou is the likely candidate to take his place in an otherwise unchanged team.
All three teams below the leaders, Apollon, Omonia and Anorthosis, are battling it out for the remaining European slot, and with just one point separating them a rousing finish is expected.
Apollon, who have improved considerably in their last few games will be favourites to overcome Anorthosis in Limassol.
With all but one player at his disposal, coach Pedro Emmanuel may ring a few changes but is still expected to maintain a 4-4-2 formation – something that proved so successful in the first two playoff games.
The Famagusta team have lost both of their opening playoff matches, and a third will hamper their chances of a top-three finish.
Coach Zoran Milinkovic knows that he has to sort out his attack if he is to get anything out of the game. Anorthosis have only managed to score against relegated Enosis in their last four games.
In the final top-tier game Omonia are away to Nea Salamina, with Bebe being added to the already long list of injured players for the Nicosia team.
Nea Salamina, out of the running for a European slot as they trail to the team above them by 19 point,s have only pride to play for.
In the bottom group, Ethnikos Achnas need all three points against Doxa Katokopias to have any hope of retaining their first division status.
On the other hand Doxa, who up until recently enjoyed a mid-table position, will want to avoid defeat at all costs as they will be just three points above Ethnikos should they lose.
In the final two games, Ermis Aradippou entertain the much improved and unbeaten in the last four games Paphos FC, while the two teams that appear to be safe from relegation, AEL and Aris, meet at the Tsirion in Limassol.
Saturday: Apollon vs Anorthosis, Nea Salamina vs Omonia (18.00)
Sunday: APOEL vs AEK (18.00)
Sunday: Ermis vs Paphos FC, AEL vs Aris, Ethnikos vs Doxa (all at 16.00)