Cyprus Mail
Europa League

Apoel face huge task to overturn deficit in Basel

Cyprus champions Apoel were beaten 3-0 by Basel in the first leg of their Europa League last 32 tie last week in Nicosia

Apoel travel to Basel for the second leg of their Europa league last 32 tie facing a huge 3-0 deficit from last week’s first leg in Nicosia.

Apoel’s aim of qualifying for the last 16 seems insurmountable not only because of the scoreline but also because the Cyprus champions’ recent performances have been less than impressive to say the least.

However, their press spokesperson Nectarios Petevinos was quick to point out that Apoel will do their best to put in a good showing in Switzerland and if they are to exit the competition they will want to do so with their heads held high.

History is not on Apoel’s side either as they have just two wins from their previous 25 away games in European competition.

It remains to be seen though if their coach Marinos Ouzounides will field his strongest side, bearing in mind that next Monday Apoel play their bitter local rivals Omonia, where a defeat for the champions will leave them at least seven points adrift from the top going into the playoffs.

Ouzounides has decided to leave behind two players who recently returned from injury, Brazilian midfielder Lucas Souza and Icelandic international Björn Sigurðarson, which is an indication of what his priorities are.

Basel coach Marcel Koller tried to give his players a jolt before the game saying that as his team scored three times in the first leg, Apoel can do the same.

But Raoul Petretta, scorer of the opening goal in Nicosia, was more candid with his comments saying “we want to give our fans a night to remember with our first home European win of the year.”

The game at St Jakob-Park stadium kicks-off at 7.55pm.

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