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AEK close the gap at the top after APOEL slip up

AEK moved to within two point off the top of the table after beating Nea Salamina

The race for the Cyprus football championship was blown wide open following another slip by leaders APOEL who could only draw with Anorthosis, while AEK defeated Nea Salamina to move to within two points of the defending champions.

In the relegation battle, Ethnikos Achnas hit three past fellow strugglers Paphos FC and rekindled their slim hopes of first division survival even though they are still four points away from safety.

APOEL could only draw for the second consecutive week, this time in a 1-1 draw away to Anorthosis.
The leaders were yet again a shadow of the team that racked up 12 consecutive wins since the beginning of the year. It was the third straight game (two league and one cup) without a win, which enraged a large part of the visiting fans who demanded the sacking of Georgian coach Ketsbaia at the final whistle.

Anorthosis’ new coach Larkou meanwhile has managed to plug the holes at the back and organised his team well in the middle of the park but going forward they offered precious little.

Even the goal that gave them the lead in the 70th minute came from well outside the area, Laifis beating APOEL keeper Pardo from 20 metres out.
APOEL managed to equalise two minutes from time thanks to a well-taken free-kick by Yianniotas.

AEK did what was expected of them and defeated Nea Salamina to maintain the pressure on APOEL.
Andre Alves opened the scoring midway into the first half with Tomas making the game safe just before the hour mark from the penalty spot.

Omonia caused a minor upset as they defeated in-form Apollon 2-1 in Limassol.
Apollon took an early lead through Freire but Omonia fought back strongly and managed to equalize through Skembri and the same player scored the winner late on.

It was no more than the Nicosia team deserved as they were far better than the home side throughout the game. In fact they could have sown up the match much earlier had their strikers been more clinical in front of goal.

Ethnikos produced one of their best displays of the season to overcome fellow relegation candidates Paphos FC 3-0.
Ethnikos opened the scoring in the 28th minute through Hadjivassilis and the same player doubled the advantage four minutes later. The icing on the cake came from Jacob 13 minutes from time.
Despite the win Ethnikos still trail the Paphos team by four points.

In the other games, AEL had few problems in defeating Ermis 3-1, while Doxa and Aris settled for a 1-1 draw in Nicosia.

Championship group
Anorthosis (56) vs APOEL (73) 1-1
AEK (71) vs Nea Salamina (33) 2-0
Apollon (57) vs Omonia 1-2 (58)

Relegation Group
Doxa (34) vs Aris (35) 1-1
Ethnikos (28) vs Paphos FC (32) 3-0
AEL (42) vs Ermis (36) 3-1

(Highlights courtesy of the Cyprus Football Association)

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