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APOEL and Omonia clash as season enters home straight

Omonia will be desperate to end their miserable winless run against their arch-rivals that stretches back to 2013

WITH four more rounds before the end of the Cyprus football championship, we are still no wiser as to who will be crowned champions in May, or which team will follow Ayia Napa and Enosis into the second division, ensuring a gripping finish to the season.

The standout game this weekend is between current leaders APOEL and their fierce local rivals Omonia.

APOEL have had a torrid past few days as they were knocked out of the Cyprus Cup on Wednesday and a day later, their coach Temur Ketsbaia was relieved of his duties despite holding a four-point lead at the top of the table.

Giorgos Costi, who has taken over as caretaker manager until the end of the season, will have to rally his troops if APOEL are to at least maintain their lead.
Costi will be without the injured Efraim and Carlao, players that played a pivotal role in APOEL’s 12-game unbeaten run that saw them overturn a seven-point deficit to AEK .

However he will be able to call upon the services of De Vincenti and defender Merkis, who are both available after serving a suspension.
It remains to be seen how the players will respond, especially as it has been widely rumoured that their relationship with Ketsbaia was poor.

Omonia meanwhile have had a much better week as they made it into the Cup final and they will be looking to end their miserable winless run against their local rivals that stretches back to 2013.

It remains to be seen though if coach Milojevic will rest players following their epic semi-final triumph against AEK that was decided on penalties after the two teams failed to score in 120 minutes of football.

With the exception of the suspended Havez, Omonia’s coach has all other players at his disposal.

Like APOEL, second-placed AEK will also have to overcome the disappointment of missing out on the Cup final in their home fixture against Anorthosis.
Their coach Thomas Christiansen though has to find a way of plugging the gaps left by the suspension of his four main midfielders, leaving him with just Rosa as a recognised midfielder.

For yet another game, Christiansen urged AEK’s fans to turn up in numbers and act as a ‘12th man’ to make up for their depleted squad.
Anorthosis have been out of sorts in recent games, letting in three goals in their last home game.

A win for Anorthosis will put them back in contention for a European finish, something that has been their main target since the beginning of the season.
In the final top group game Apollon, the other Cup finalist, should pick up a win against pointless Nea Salmina.

In the relegation scramble, Paphos FC saw their seven-point cushion over Ethnikos reduced to just a single point following two consecutive defeats, and subsequent wins for their rivals.

Paphos FC are at home to Aris while Ethnikos are away to Ermis.
Paphos FC will have a number of players back from injury and suspension, while Ethnikos have improved considerably in recent games and will prove a tough opponent for Ermis.

Should both Paphos FC and Ethikos win, then Ermis will also become caught up in the relegation scrap.

In the final relegation game, AEL are at home to Doxa.

All Championship group games will be played on Saturday at 18.00 while the Relegation group games will be played the next day at 17.00.

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