APOEL moved a step closer to their third consecutive championship following the sixth round (of ten) of the playoffs as they increased their lead at the top to four points.
In the relegation scramble, Ethnikos Achnas are on the cusp of completing a remarkable escape from the drop as they are now just one point from safety.
In the most intriguing match of the round, second-placed AEK fought back from two goals down to snatch a point against Apollon with the equaliser coming right at the end.
This was the fourth straight game that the Limassol side was unable to hang onto the lead. Their coach Pedro Emmanuel must be overly concerned as to why a team with so much talent and quality suddenly loses concentration and allows its opponents to get back into the game.
To add insult to injury, AEK’s equaliser came from Lopes, the Apollon right-back, who inexplicably and under no real pressure headed the ball past his own keeper.
Much as they tried AEK did not create many chances at least until the final third of the game when their opponents dropped deep and allowed them plenty of space and possession.
However things could have been different if referee Skapoulis had pointed to the spot after Tomas was felled in the area with the score still goalless.
Apollon took the lead through Papoulis late in the first half with Abraham Guie doubling the score in the 53rd minute. Triscovski scored his fifth goal of the season nine minutes from the end to pull one back for AEK before Lopes’ late own goal levelled the score.
Omonia scored an important away win against Anorthosis putting them in pole position for third place.
Omonia opened the scoring through the evergreen Nuno Assis minutes after Anorthosis’ captain Holgersson managed somehow to blast the ball towards Famagusta from a couple of metres out with the goalkeeper well beaten.
Ramos and Sheridan completed the rout with the latter limping off the field towards the end making him a doubt for Wednesday’s cup game against AEK.
APOEL had few problems in defeating pointless Nea Salamina with Stilic, Sotiriou, Morais, and Charalambides getting on the scoresheet, with ex-APOEL player Aldo Adorno getting Salamina’s consolation goal.
A few weeks ago few believed that Ethnikos Achnas had any chance of avoiding the drop as they trailed Paphos FC by seven points.
Two wins for Ethnikos and the same number of defeats for Paphos FC in the past couple of games has seen the difference cut to just one point.
In one of their best games of the season, Ethnikos defeated group leaders AEL 2-0 in an open and exciting game.
Grigalasvili and Hadjivassilis were the scorers with their keeper Bogadinof making some crucial saves early on in the game.
Paphos FC were defeated 3-1 by Doxa Katokopias in a game where Doxa raced into a three-goal lead before Ogoyie pulled one back near the end.
However Paphos coach Apostolos Makrides was still confident that his side would avoid the drop citing injury problems for their loss.
“We have had bad luck with injuries recently, we lost two players today through injury but we are still one point ahead and we now have two home games which we believe we can win,” he said.