Cyprus Mail
Europa League

Cyprus teams favourites to progress in Europa Leaugue final qualifying round

Assistant referee Fredrik Klyver helped off the pitch after being hit by a cup in the Sturm Graz v AEK tie

All three Cyprus teams, Apoel, Apollon and AEK came away with excellent results in their first leg games in the third qualifying round of the Europa League giving them the perfect platform to progress to the fourth and final round before the group stages of the competition.

Apollon scored four past hapless Dynamo Brest from Belarus while AEK stunned Sturm Graz in Austria by 2-0 while Apoel held on for a 2-2 against Hapoel Beer Sheva of Israel.

Hapoel Beer Sheva 2 Apoel 2
The Hamas rocket incident that almost caused the postponement of the tie seemed to have shocked the Israelis more as it took them over 20 minutes to launch their first attack in tight first half.

Apoel opened the score in the 11th minute from the penalty spot through captain Nuno Morais after Al Tamari was upended in the penalty area by Tzedek.

Guilerme Delatorre doubled the score with a spectacular overhead kick in the 28th minute giving the Cyprus champions a two-goal cushion.

Beer Sheva responded and reduced the deficit in the 42nd minute through Ogu after Roland Sallay failed to clear the ball allowing the Nigerian to prod ball into the net.

In the second half Beer Sheva poured forward looking for the equalizer and it came through Nwakaeme in the 70th minute.

In the final 17 minutes Apoel were reduced to ten men after Delatorre was shown a second yellow card but they managed to hang on to give them the platform to get the result in Nicosia to progress to the next round.

Apollon 4 Dynamo Brest 0
Apollon were by far the superior team and dominated from the first whistle but could not find a way past Dynamo’s goalkeeper Gutor in the first half with Zelaya, Facundo Pereira and Fotis Papoulis all guilty of some poor finishing.

On a rare breakaway Dynamo Brest could have opened the score when Fereira raced clear only to send the ball the wrong side of the post with Apollon goalkeeper Bruno Vale beaten.

Zelaya finally gave Apollon an early second half lead while a couple of minutes later the same player was denied his second by the post. However in the 58th minute he managed to grab his second.

Apollon made the return leg a formality with two late goals from Marcovic and Joao Pedro.

Dynamo Brest finished the game with ten players after Zaleskiy saw red for a reckless challenge on Zelaya.

Sturm Graz 0 AEK 2
Despite playing away from home AEK were by far the better side against Sturm Graz, creating enough chances to seal victory in the first 45 minutes.

Acoran twice went close while Giannou just failed to reach a tantalizing cross with the goal at his mercy.

However just after the restart Truyols headed the ball into the net to give AEK a deserved lead.

The Larnaca team continued to be the better team and added a second in the 74th minute through Ivan Triskovski.

The game was interrupted in the final stages when the assistant referee was struck and injured by an object thrown from the home fans. Play resumed after a lenghty delay with the Austrians expected to be handed a hefty penalty.

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