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Tight at the top as three teams battle for title

Apoel scored twice in the final seven minutes to salvage a 2-2 draw against AEK in the big match of the weekend at the GSP stadium

 

Following the weekend results in Cyprus, the top of the table has become even more congested as three teams – Apoel, AEL and Apollon – are separated by just two points and look set to battle for the championship until the end.

The situation in the bottom half of the table (7-12th position) is even more unpredictable as only the seventh-placed team (currently Omonia) is safe from the threat of relegation with bottom side Ermis Aradippou being in the most precarious position as they trail the team directly above them Alki by six points.

There was no winner in the big weekend clash between Apoel and AEK as the two sides had to settle for a 2-2 draw in an action-packed game at the GSP stadium.

AEK must be kicking themselves as they let slip a two-goal lead as Apoel scored twice in the final seven minutes of the game to claim a more than deserved point.

Apoel were the better side, especially in the first half, where they missed a number of chances to take the lead and also had a perfectly good goal disallowed for offside.

In the second half AEK pushed further upfield and managed to close down the space for the home side’s players.

In the 65th minute, and against the run of play, AEK managed to take the lead through Ivan Triscovski with the same player doubling the score ten minutes later.

With nothing to lose, the champions pushed more players forward in an effort to get back into the game and they were finally rewarded in the 83rd minute when winter signing Roman Bezjak headed past AEK goalkeeper Toño.

Four minutes later the same player found the net again for the equaliser setting up a thrilling conclusion to the game.

Both sides had a chance to clinch the three points in the final minutes but it would have been rough justice for either to finish the game empty-handed.

AEL overcame a plucky performance by Nea Salamina to win 3-2 and move to within a pont of Apoel.

It was the visitors who took the lead after Mitides helped the ball into his own net but two quick goals in succession midway through the first half by Silva turned the game on its head.

Against the run of play Tiago equalised for Salamina on the stroke of half-time but eight minutes after the restart Antonia fired in the winner to give the Limassol side the three points.

Apollon maintained the pressure on the front two with a relatively easy win over Alki.

Apollon opened the score through a Zelaya penalty and even though Carlos equalised for Alki just after the hour mark the Limassol side added two more through Bru and Skembri.

Omonia must be kicking themselves as they failed to pick up the three points against a poor Anorthosis at the Antonis Papadopoulos.

Gomez, Katelaris and twice Kousoulos should have scored and given Omonia the three points especially Kousoulos’ second chance when he somehow managed to head the ball onto the crossbar from a metre out in the final minute of added time.

Nothing much can be said about Anorthosis who were poor from start to finish and were unable to create one decent chance over the 90 minutes.

The final two games involved teams battling against relegation and both ended as 1-1 draws.

Enosis were unlucky not to take the three points against Pafos FC. They took the lead through Oudozi in the 27th  minute but Pafos FC fought back and equalised through their top scorer Nemec.

In the other game Ermis Aradippou salvaged a point against Doxa Katokopias thanks to a last-gasp equaliser by Taralides to keep alive their slim chances of beating the drop.

Doxa had taken the lead early in the second half through a Mitra penalty.

In other news meanwhile, following the Cyprus Football Association judge’s decision to accept Apollon’s objection regarding the medical certificate of Anorthosis keeper Francis Uzoho, clubs’ positions in the league table have changed.

Apollon, awarded the three points from the game against Anorthosis, move to the top of the table, one point ahead of Apoel.

Anorthosis, having been deducted nine points (three from the game plus an additional six for breaking the regulations) drop from fifth place (34 points) to seventh (25 points) and are now in danger of missing out on a place in the top group for the upcoming playoffs.

With this development, Nea Salamina are now guaranteed a top-six place, with Omonia and Anorthosis battling for the final place on the last day of the regular season this weekend.

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