Cyprus Mail

Relegation fight goes to the wire

Grigor Grigalasvili (19) celebrates with team mates after scoring the winner for Ethnikos

Ethnikos Achnas took a giant step towards first division survival when they came back from a goal down to defeat Aris on Sunday.

Now in their last game against last-placed Paphos FC next week Ethnikos needs to avoid defeat and send the Paphos team into the second division.

Aris took a surprise lead against Ethnikos early on in the game when Kyprou rounded keeper Bogadinov before rolling the ball into the net.

Ethnikos managed to equalize through Adanda on 19 minutes and just after the hour mark Grigalasvili sealed the points for his team.

Paphos FC were the better side against group leaders AEL but were let down by poor finishing and excellent goalkeeping by AEL’s rookie keeper Georgiou.

The only goal of the game was scored by Mezga three minutes from the break.

In the final weekend game Doxa Katokopias and Ermis Aradippou shared the spoils in a two-all draw with the two goals being scored in the final four minutes.
Wilson had opened the score for Doxa before Magele equalised for Ermis. Alquinaldo gave Doxa the lead in the 86th minute before Keita netted for Ermis in injury time.

In the top group, champions APOEL seemed to have had their minds more on the evening celebrations rather than their game against cup finalist Apollon and suffered their first loss since January.

The champions fielded six Cypriot players in their starting 11 and by the end of the game this number increased to eight.

They were no match for the Limassol side, who despite resting a few players ahead of the Cup final, were the much better team and deservedly picked up the three points thanks to a Stojanovic strike at the half-hour mark.

Second placed AEK suffered the same fate as APOEL as they were defeated by the other cup finalist Omonia by 3-1.

Having missed out on the championship last week AEK rested eight players and fielded a largely second-string side.

For Omonia it was a good ‘practice session’ in the build up to the final, with coach Milojevic pleased to see star signup Christophi get through his second game unscathed after a lengthy injury.

Roushias and Christophi gave Omonia a two-goal lead before Alves reduced the arrears for AEK. Nuno Assis restored his team’s two-goal advantage towards the end of the game.

Anorthosis’ new technical director Alberto Benito must have realised the huge task ahead for him after watching his team draw with Nea Salamina, a result that put to rest their slim hopes of a European finish.

Nea Salamina, who were pointless in the playoffs until this game, were denied all three points after Orlandi had cancelled out Makriev’s first-half header goal.

Ethnikos 2-1 Aris
AEL 1-0 Paphos FC
Apollon 1-0 APOEL
AEK 1-3 Omonia
Anorthosis 1-1 Nea Salamina
Doxa 2-2 Ermis

(Highlights courtesy of the Cyprus Football Association)

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