-- APOEL Through Despite Loss --
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE - GROUP B (MATCHDAY 5)
|Astana||2 - 1||APOEL|
Despite APOEL taking the lead against Astana, the Cypriot Champions were handed a 2-1 defeat in Kazakhstan. Efrem opened the scoring in the first half and two second half goals from the hosts gave them the comeback victory. However, APOEL mathematically progressed to the next round after Olympiacos and Young Boys drew in Greece.
Things were going to plan for APOEL in the first half as Efrem opened the scoring in the 31st minute with a fantastic strike. However, two minutes later, the Cypriot Champions were left with 10-men when Astiz was given a straight red for fouling his opponent during a clear goal-scoring opportunity. APOEL held onto their lead going into halftime.
As expected in the second half, Astana used their man advantage and began to increase their pressure on the attack. In the 59th minute, Anicic capitalized on Waterman’s mistake, pulling his side level on the night. Astana kept up their pressure and they found a winner 6-minutes from time with Despotovic’s effort. Astana held onto their lead and earned their first victory in Group B.
Despite the loss, good news came out of Greece for APOEL as Olympiacos and Young Boys played to a 1-1 draw. The result in the other match mathematically secured APOEL’s place in the next round of the competition and they will battle it with Olympiacos in the final matchday for top spot in the group. A win or draw will do for APOEL, as they lead Olympiacos by one point, while the Greek Champions will need a win to top the group.