Apoel and AEL will face off on Wednesday in the 77th Cyprus Cup final at the GSP stadium in Nicosia.
Both teams have a rich history in the cup with the Nicosia side reaching the final on 33 occasions, winning it 21 times, while AEL have reached the final 18 times, lifting the trophy six times.
The last time Apoel appeared in the final was in 2017 when they lost 1-0 to Apollon, while the last time they won the cup was back in 2015, when they celebrated a 4-2 win over Wednesday’s opponents AEL. Should Apoel triumph again they will clinch yet another domestic double in their long and illustrious history.
The two sides have met in five finals so far with Apoel on three wins as opposed to AEL’s two.
Apoel will be going into this final as the favourites. They have a near perfect record against AEL this season, drawing once and winning the three other games, scoring eight and not conceding a goal.
The first time the two sides met this season was Apoel coach Paolo Tramezzani’s first game in charge and if rumours are to be believed it may be his last.
Despite signing a two-year extention to his contract earlier this year rumours surfaced over the last 24 hours that the Italian will announce his resignation after the final.
When asked at the pre-match press conference about his future, he appeared coy saying: “I knew from the beginning that every game may be my last, the same applies for the final”.
Apoel will be without the injured Savvas Gentzoglou while question marks remain over the fitness of defender Carlao who is still nursing a slight knock. Mousa Al Taamari, this season’s revelation and Footballer of the Year, may also miss out due to Ramadan.
AEL coach Dusan Kerkez has bitter memories of his last involvement in a cup final, but not as a coach but as a player. This was ten years ago when strong favourites at the time AEL lost to minnows Apop Kiniras Peyia 2-0.
“I do not want to relive what happened ten years ago when as player, and captain of AEL we lost in the final,” Kerkez said. “I hope this time things will be different”.
Kerkez appeared confident in his press conference and even though he admitted that AEL were facing the most successful team in Cyprus for almost a decade he had complete faith in his players.
“We are up against the best team in Cyprus but we have shown that on our day we can be a match for anyone”, Kerkez boasted.
A lot will depend on the form of one of the most charismatic players to have played in Cyprus in recent years, – 35-year-old Alex da Silva.
Da Silva has much better memories than his coach of his last appearance in a final. This was a couple of years ago against Apoel when as an Apollon player he lifted the cup.
For one of the two, history will repeat itself but for who we shall find out around 9pm on Wednesday night.