Cyprus Mail
Cyprus football

Apoel holds slight advantage as final championship stretch begins

Action from Apoel’s first round game with Nea Salamina that ended in a 1-1 draw

The football championship enters the final stretch this weekend as the second and final round of the playoffs begins. However, with 15 points still to play for, nothing has been decided yet even though Apoel holds a 4 point advantage at the top over Apollon.

The same can be said about the relegation group and which team will join Ermis Aradippou into the second division as four points is the difference between the second relegation position and another year in the top flight.

Leaders Apoel have seemingly their ‘easiest’ game of the final round, at home to Nea Salamina. Recent home results though have been far from impressive for the champions, having won just once in the league since early January, characterizing a home win anything but a formality.

Apoel though remain unbeaten in the playoffs and as their spokesperson Nectarios Petevinos pointed out earlier this week they do have the best record against the top six teams.

Four players are doubtful for Saturday’s clash with the Jordanian Al Taamari the latest casualty, joining Tomas de Vincenti, Savvas Gentzoglou and Norbert Balogh in the treatment room after injuring himself in training last Thursday.

However Apoel’s depth in squad will allow their Italian coach Paolo Tramezzani to field a team more than capable of claiming the three points.

Nea Salamina has been the pleasant surprise in the plaoyffs taking off points from all teams apart from AEL, and this despite having little or no chance of finishing in a position that will lead them to European football next season.

Their Greek coach and former Apoel defender Savvas Poursaitides will be without Tisdell and Christophorou but their regular goalkeeper Vezelofski is fit to return as is striker Mintikkis who has overcome his niggling injury.

Apollon’s season seems to have imploded in recent weeks as they have failed to win any of their last 4 league and cup games.

On Sunday they travel to Nicosia to face Omonia knowing that only a win can keep them in the hunt for the title. The pressure will be on the Apollon players especially if Apoel pick up the three points against Nea Salamina on Saturday evening.

Roberge is the latest player to be sidelined by injury in a season that has been riddled with injuries to key players for the Limassol side.

Omonia have no such pressure as Giannis Anastasiou’s side have only their pride to play for and will be gunning for the three points as well.
AEL take on AEK at the Tsireion in a game that may go a long way in deciding the team that finishes in third place.

For the first time this season AEK overtook AEL into third place last week and will try and hang onto it till the end of the season.

Two big games in the relegation group with Doxa taking on Enosis Neon Paralimniou and Alki entertaining Pafos FC in Larnaca.

Enosis dropped from second to fifth place in a couple of weeks and need the points to move out of the danger zone.

The team just outside the relegation zone, Alki, have a difficult tie against Pafos FC while the last game of the group is between leaders Anorthosis and relegated Ermis Aradippou.

Saturday: Doxa v Paralimni (5.00), Alki v Pafos FC (6.00). Apoel v Nea Salamina (7.00)
Sunday: AEL v AEK (5.00), Omonia v Apollon (6.00), Anorthosis v Ermis (7.00)

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