Apoel was called to react against their eternal rivals Omonia at GSP Stadium after heavy defeats in the Europa League against Swiss side Basel, who kicked them out of the competition, and in the last league fixture, lost 2-0 away to Paphos FC.
Both teams had a lot at stake for the game. A win for hosts Apoel would have resulted in the home team reducing their gap with Omonia to just one point, whereas a success for Henning Berg’s men would have allowed them to overtake Anorthosis, who lost to AEK Larnaca on Sunday 2-1 at home.
The first half saw Marinos Ouzonides’ players seemingly more motivated to get the three points. Omonia’s goalkeeper, recently signed Romanian international Costel Pantilimon, saved his team on AT LEAST three different occasions after dangerous shots made by Georgios Efrem, Tomas De Vincenti and Moussa Al-Taamari.
The game’s referee was Bosnian Peljto Irfan, whose lenient direction allowed for the game to unfold at a faster pace than usual in Cyprus.
Despite the home team having more possession and opportunities, the best chance of the first half fell on Matt Derbyshire’s feet in the 43rd minute. The Omonia captain failed to convert a clear chance in front of Vid Belec after a superb pass by Babajide Akintola and the score remained 0-0 at half time.
The second half was definitely more anticlimactic compared to the first one, as a chance for each team was almost all the game had to offer to the 11,000 fans at the stadium.
De Vincenti had the opportunity to take Apoel ahead in the 56th minute but his shot went wide.
On the other side, Omonia’s Thiago almost scored the winning goal directly from a corner kick but his shot came back off the crossbar.
In the end the two teams settled for a goalless draw, with Omonia understandably happier with the result that takes them to 43 points, the same as Anorthosis, but now ahead of Temur Ketsbaia’s team due to the results of the two teams’ previous encounters, which favour Berg’s team.