The 80th Cyprus football championship got underway this weekend with three games that all ended with the ‘favourites’ winning their respective games by the same score, 1-0.
Omonia and Anorthosis deserved their wins against Alki and Doxa Katokopias respectively while AEL were rather fortunate to pick up the three points against Ermis Aradippou.
Results though took a back seat this weekend with authorities (Cyprus Football Association and Cyprus Sports Organisation) and clubs alike eagerly awaiting to see what effect the introduction of the sports cards would have on attendances.
Even though the three games on opening day cannot be considered a good enough sample, the results do not look very promising with just over 8,000 fans attending the three games.
The lion’s share (6.600) of these watched Omonia’s game in Nicosia but in the first game (chronological) of last season against Ethnikos, Omonia attracted almost 12.000 fans while in a pre-season friendly earlier this month against Panathinaikos there were more than 13,000 fans.
The most worrying thing of all was the incident on Saturday evening where vandals littered the Makarion stadium playing surface with broken glass, nails and screws. What remains to be seen is whether this was just an isolated incident or a prelude of more things to come.
On the footballing side, not much can be said as coaches are still trying to figure out their best starting eleven with so many new players in each team.
Omonia did well in the opening 45 minutes where they had a number of chances to take the lead but their forward line was firing blanks and needed the help of 22-year-old Croatian defender Franjo Prce to secure the points.
Anorthosis had to wait until the 82nd minute to finally breakdown Doxa with Georgian striker Beka Mikeltadze scoring on his debut.
A goal by Ruben Hurado was enough to give AEL their first points of the season against Ermis Aradippou who must be kicking themselves for failing to capitalise on a number of clear opportunities to at least earn a point.