After an excellent performance Apoel registered their first league win of the season on Saturday night, beating AEL 1-0 thanks to a deflected goal in the final five minutes of the game in Nicosia.
Apoel coach Marinos Ouzounides made 6 changes to the team that lost to AEK a couple of weeks ago with three coming at the back with Nsue, Wheeler and Shelis coming in for Mihaljovic, Merkis and Ioannou. Jordanian ace Musa Al-Taamari was also dropped giving his place to Ndogala. Recent signing Anwouar was also handed his debut in an effort to bolster Apoel’s porous midfield.
His counterpart Ducan Kerkez made three changes to team that beat Olympiakos last week. The injured Tesseira was replaced by Bounoza while Danilo and Gazaryan stepped in for Avraam and Andamovic.
After a quiet first ten minutes Apoel suddenly upped the tempo and could have opened the score twice in a matter of a couple of minutes. Both De Vincenti and then Sahar failed to beat Vozinha from promising positions.
Apoel continued to dominate and it was Ndongala this time who fluffed at his shot from 10 metres out while Vozinha denied Wheeler in the last minute of the half.
AEL lacked any ambition and made too many unforced errors throughout the half and barley had a sniff at goal.
Whatever Kerkez told his players at the break AEL came out firing and Papafotis went close twice in the opening minutes. First, he forced Apoel’s goalkeeper Silva into a good save and then saw his effort clip the outside of the post.
Twelve minutes later it was Apoel’s turn to hit the post from Zahid’s curling shot while Al Tamaari could not beat Vozinha in the 68th minute when clean through.
Apoel, who seem to have a curse when it comes to penalties, managed to miss yet another one when Ben Sahar failed to beat the outstanding Vozinha in the 73rd minute.
Apoel finally managed to break the deadlock 5 minutes from the end after Al-Tamaari’s cross was deflected past Vozinha by the outstretched leg of his own defender Mendojvic to give Apoel the three points which they thoroughly deserved.