AEK defeated Anorthosis in the weekend’s big game in Round 18 of the Cyprus football championship, while Apollon and AEL kept up the pressure on leaders Apoel with wins over Doxa Katokopias and Enosis.
The champions dropped two points on Monday night after a goalless stalemate at home to lowly Alki Oroklinis, meaning they lead the Limassol duo by two points at the top.
Pafos FC overcame Omonia and leapfrogged Ermis Aradippou, who lost to Nea Salamina and dropped to the bottom of the table.
The big game at the Arena stadium turned out to be a one-sided affair as AEK cruised to a 3-0 win over Anorthosis.
It all became too easy for the Larnaca team especially after Anorthosis’ central defender Douglao sent Ivan Triscovski crashing to the ground in the 20th minute and received his marching orders after being shown a second yellow card.
AEK were already 1-0 to the good at that point thanks to a superb strike by Jorge Larena ten minutes earlier and with Anorthosis playing with a man short they dominated the rest of the game and scored two more after the break through Ivan Triscovski.
This was AEK’s third straight win under new coach Imanol Idiakez and it looks as if the Larnaca team will have few problems in securing a top-six finish.
The same cannot be said about Anorthosis who have not shown any kind of consistency under Jurgen Streppel and whose position at the Famagusta club is now hanging by a thread.
The only consolation for Anorthosis in this round is that the team trying to break into the top six, Omonia, were unable to reduce the gap as they also lost to Pafos FC.
Pafos FC won the three points courtesy of a fourth-minute penalty by Nemec and continued their excellent run against top-six sides. AEL remain the only team not have dropped any points against the Pafos side.
Nea Salamina stayed on course for their best-ever finish in the top-flight in decades with a tough but valuable 1-0 victory over Ermis Aradippou.
The only goal of the game came on the half-hour through Roman Golobart.
After the latest defeat Ermis Aradippou sacked their Italian coach Stefano Kusin and are now searching for their fourth coach of the season.
In the final weekend game AEL had to come back from behind to defeat Enosis in Paralimni.
Fytanides opened the score for Enosis but two goals in three second half minutes by Adamovic and Dossa Junior gave the three points to the Limassol team.