APOEL Increase Lead Atop the Standings (Playoffs, Matchday 1 Recap)

APOEL Increase Lead Atop the Standings
(Playoffs, Matchday 1 Recap)

 

CYPRIOT FIRST DIVISION - playoffs (matchday 1)

Date Home Team Score Away Team
11-Mar-17 AEL Limassol 1 - 1 Apollon
12-Mar-17 Anorthosis 0 - 1 APOEL
13-Mar-17 AEK Larnaca 1 - 1 Omonia
11-Mar-17 Nea Salamis 0 - 3 Aris Limassol
12-Mar-17 Karmiotissa 5 - 3 Ethnikos Achnas
12-Mar-17 Doxa 2 - 1 Ermis

Marios Antoniou from AGONAsport.com brings you a full recap of Matchday 1 in the Cypriot First Division Playoffs. For the current Cypriot First Division standings and full schedule click here . Highlights for each match can be found here...

AEL and Apollon played to a 1-1 draw in the first game of the playoffs for the championship group in the traditional derby of Limassol. Both teams wanted the 3 points desperately, especially AEL, after retreating down to 4th place due to bad results over the previous weeks. AEL, who had a better start, managed to score from Vinicius’ own goal while Apollon struggled in the opening half. The second half was a different story, as Apollon dominated on the pitch forcing AEL to defend continuously. AEL’s goalkeeper Romo came up with multiple saves, however the hosts’ luck ran out on the final kick of the game when Vinicius’ equalizing header salvaged a point for the visitors. AEL remained 4th, 13 points behind leaders APOEL, while Apollon are 3rd 7 points behind APOEL and just a point behind 2nd place AEK.

APOEL managed to celebrate a 0-1 victory over Anorthosis in a tricky match on the road for the league leaders. Anorthosis were coming off of a good spell of results that secured their presence in the 1st playoff group. APOEL were lucky enough to score in their first chance of the game when Pieros Sotiriou struck for his 17th goal of the season. The game was not an entertaining one with Anorthosis looking overall the better side, however APOEL’s strong defense held onto the clean sheet and the three points. APOEL took advantage of draws from AEK and Apollon and are now 6 and 7 points clear of the two sides. Anorthosis put on a credible showing as they look to use this postseason to prepare themselves for the next season.

AEK and Omonoia faced off in the last of the three games for the first group in Larnaka with the match ending in a 1-1 draw. It was an attacking game with both teams looking for goals and it was only because of the goalkeepers and the ineffectiveness of the players to find the back of the net, that the game ended in a 1-1 draw. AEK managed to score early in the match through David Catala which opened up the game, resulting in multiple chances for both teams. In the second half, the teams continued their search for more goals and soon after Derbyshires’ canceled goal (foul on the goalkeeper) the Prasinoi managed to equalize with a  header from Greek defender Loukas Vyntra. A few minutes later, AEK had a great chance to take back the lead but Trickovski’s penalty was denied by the post. In the end, neither team was able to capitalize on their chances with the match ending in a draw. AEK are still 2nd but now trail APOEL by 6 points while Omonoia sit 5th just a point behind AEL.

The leaders of the 2nd group, Ermis, fell 2-1 to last placed Doxa on the road. Mashinya gave an early lead to Ermis but Seran Polo equalized almost instantly for the hosts. Both teams wasted many chances, however Doxa managed to score the winning goal with Braulio and gain 3 valuable points. Doxa continue to sit in last place and are chasing 5th placed Aris, who lead Doxa by 4 points. Ermis remained first 4 points above Nea Salamina.

A spectacular game between Karmiotissa and Ethnikos Achnas produced 8 goals with Karmiotissa celebrated a 5-3 win. Only one goal was scored in the first half as Kipiani open the score for Ethnikos. Karmiotissa responded in the first minute of the 2nd half with Ordos, as the same player gave his team the lead just 5 minutes later. Kacharava equalised three minutes later for Ethnikos with his 13th goal of the season. Poljanec and Adamovic gave the Polemidiotes a 2 goal lead before Kipiani scored Ethnikos 3rd goal of the game. Adamovic’s late goal formed the final score (5-3) in a highly entertaiing match. Both teams now have 30 points 7 points clear of the drop zone.

Aris easily defeated Salamina 0-3 on the road in the final match of the 2nd group. Cretan striker Markos Maragkoudakis gave the visitors the lead as Salamina failed to produce a threatening attack for an equalizer. On the other end, Aris managed to double their lead with Rogerio Martins right before halftime. With Salamina incapable of getting back into the game, Aris scored their 3rd goal with veteran striker Pulpo Gonzalez late in the game to cap off a great night for the visitors. With the win, Aris remain 5th but are 4 points above Doxa and now just 3 points behind Ethnikos and Karmiotissa. As for Salamina, they might sit 2nd but with Ethnikos and Karmiotissa just a point behind, they must improve immediately in order to avoid any relegation headaches.

 
by: Marios Antoniou
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