Anorthosis were the big winners in Sunday’s heavyweight clash against Apoel thanks to a 63rd-minute goal by an unlikely hero, substitute Theodoros Vassilakakis.
With the win the Famagusta side pulled four points clear of second-placed Omonia, seven from Apollon and nine points from champions Apoel, and moved a step closer to winning the title after a 12-year barren spell.
From the first quarter of the game it was obvious that both sides were more concerned in not conceding and if there were to be winner it would be by the solitary goal. In the first half neither team managed to create even a half chance let alone a shot on target.
However, you felt that if someone was to break the deadlock it would be Anorthosis, as they were much more organised and aggressive than their opponents. Defenders Schildenfeld and Vrgoc were imperious at the back while Daushvilli covered every blade of grass harrying and dispossessing his opponents with consummate ease.
The only goal of the game came after a poor clearance by the Apoel defence that allowed Michal Duris to free Vassilakakis who had the simple task of beating Apoel goalkeeper Belec from close range. Ironically, Vassilakakis may not even have been on the pitch if Anorthosis’ top scorer and most influential player Ruben Rayos had not limped off the field just before the break.
From there on Anorthosis controlled play and did not allow the visitors a single sniff at goal.
All Apoel’s new coach Kåre Ingebrigtsen had to say after the game was: “We are disappointed by our performance, we should have played much better,” words that were echoed many times before by both of Apoel’s last two coaches this season, Paolo Tramezzani and Thomas Doll.
Ingebrigtsen must now be aware he has a tough job on his hands and a lot is needed to change the fortunes of the champions.
Elsewhere over the weekend, Apollon defeated Olympiakos 2-0 thanks to goals in each half by Emilio Zelaya. If rumours are to be believed this was Zelaya’s last game for the Limassol team as he has accepted a lucrative offer from a team in the Middle East.
AEK, despite trailing 2-0 in the first half stormed back with five second-half goals, four of which were scored by their top scorer Ivan Triscovski.
A controversial goal by Simpson five minutes from the end gave Nea Salamina the three points against ten-man Ael 2-1.
Kingsley had opened the score for Nea Salamina in the 11th minute with Texeira equalising midway through the second half.
Ael had to play the final 30 minutes with 10 men after Zdravkovski was show a second yellow card.
On Friday Omonia failed to breakdown Pafos FC and had to settle for a point in a goalless draw.