The second round of the regular season in the Cyprus Football Championship got underway this weekend and it had a couple of surprises in store as leaders AEK dropped points against lowly Doxa Katokopias while Apollon sacked their coach following their third successive draw, this time against Nea Salamina.
The big winners of the weekend were undoubtedly AEL, who defeated Anagennisi Dheryneia 3-1 and moved level on points with AEK at the top of the table.
Mezga gave the Limassol team an early lead but Vesslem equalised just after the half hour mark.
However Bueno’s goal on the stroke of half time tipped the scales in AEL’s favour once again and from there on Pambos Christodoulou’s team took complete control of the game.
They had to wait though until the 80th minute to make the game safe, Soouza tapping in from close range following good work by Wellington and Constantinides.
AEK on the other hand were unable to take advantage of their early goal against relegation-threatened Doxa and were dealt a killer blow right at the end.
It was another disappointing performance by Imanol Idiakez’s team, who failed for the second consecutive week to defeat a team in the relegation zone. AEK were lethargic and bereft on any attacking ideas and this despite taking an early lead through Charalambides.
Doxa, who were without a number of key players, could have equalised on the half hour but Castro’s drive came off the crossbar. In the final third of the game they pushed forward for the equaliser forcing AEK to retreat.
They were rewarded right at the end when Wilson beat AEK’s Minio from close range.
Apollon were dealt another blow to their championship aspirations as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Nea Salamina.
The latest setback also signalled the departure of their coach Pedro Emmanuel despite leading his team to the Cyprus Cup last May.
Apollon took the lead through Piech but Salamina’s towering centre forward Makriev equalised early in the second half.
Both sides missed chances to win the game with the best one falling to Salamina’s scorer who failed to head over Apollon keeper Vale five minutes from the end.
It was a bad day for another of the top teams, Omonia, who despite taking a two-goal lead against Ermis Aradippou through Margaca and Clayton had to settle for a point as Ermis struck twice in the last three minutes.
Lillis pulled one back in the 90th minute and three minutes later Masinoua headed into an empty net after Omonia keeper Christodoulou was clearly fouled in an aerial challenge with Penga.
In the most exciting weekend game Karmiotissa and Aris shared the points in a six-goal thriller.
Visitors Aris led the game twice, at 1-0 and 2-1 but Karmiotissa fought back on both occasions and looked like they had stolen the three points when a Taralides penalty gave them a 3-2 lead 13 minutes from the end.
However, despite playing the final stages of the game a man short, Aris managed to equalise through a penalty of their own through Ikante.
Apoel beat Anorthosis 2-1 in the final game of the round on Monday night, with the defending champions joining the leading duo on 33 points at the top of the table.
(Highlights courtesy of the Cyprus Football Association)