AEK halt APOEL, Apollon move tied for top spot

AEK halt APOEL, Apollon move tied for top spot  
 

CYPRIOT 1st DIV.: CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYOFFS (MATCHDAY 2)

APOEL 0 - 0 AEK Larnaca

APOEL and AEK Larnaca played to a goalless draw in Nicosia while Apollon moved into top spot with APOEL after defeating Anorthosis on the road.

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APOEL hosted AEK Larnaka at the GSP Stadium in a game full of action, but no goals. APOEL started off as the better side and controlled the pace of the game, coming close to an opener on two occasions with Ebecilio. His first chance came in the 26th minute as he took advantage of Juan Pablo’s mistake, but his effort went wide. Thirteen minutes later, the Dutch midfielder would see his impressive free-kick stopped by AEK’s goalkeeper, Juan Pablo. AEK’s first important chance of the game came in the 44th minute with Cases sending the ball wide of Nauzet Perez’s goalposts. The home side wasted two more chances to open the scoring before the break, with Delatorre’s shot denied by Pablo and Sallai’s effort hitting the outer side of the net.

In the second half, AEK registered the first effort with Acoran sending the ball over Perez’s crossbar and a minute later, APOEL’s Pote couldn’t find the target, wasting a beautiful pass from Ebecilio in the heart of AEK’s defense. In the 71st minute, it was again Pote who missed the target despite dribbling past goalkeeper Juan Pablo and from a wide position, was unable to rest the ball into the net. Juan Pablo was once again there to keep APOEL at bay, denying Insue on two occasions in the 76th and 77th minutes, which included APOEL’s biggest chance of the match. In the 89th minute, Mojsov almost proved to be the hero for AEK, however Nauzet Perez kept out his header, keeping the game goalless until the end. 

APOEL failed to double their wins in the championship group and now share top spot after Apollon’s win over Anorthosis. AEK are still in 4th, two points short of Anorthosis, but twelve points behind the two league leaders.
 


Anorthosis 1 - 2 Apollon Limassol
Duris 45'+5'
Papoulis 27',69'

Apollon escaped with an important 2:1 win against Anorthosis at the Antonis Papadopoulos stadium. The hosts had the first effort of the game in the 8th minute as Apollon’s Bruno Vale effectively blocked Michal Duris’ effort on goal. Eighteen minutes later, Apollon’s captain Fotis Papoulis opened the scoring with a beautiful finish outside of Anorthosis’ penalty area. During first-half stoppage time, Bruno Vale pulled off an impressive save on Joao Victor’s header and from the ensuing corner, Michal Duris headed Pjanic’s corner into Apollon’s net, equalizing for Anorthosis right on halftime.
 
Anorthosis looked to turn the game around in the second half, but it was Papoulis again who took advantage of Joao Pedro’s clever headed pass to push the ball into the net, giving Apollon the lead again in the 69th minute. After the goal, the pace of the game dropped as Anorthosis failed to threaten the Apollon defense. The visitors held the lead and celebrated a victory that moved them into first place alongside APOEL. Anorthosis remain ten points behind top stop and two points clear of 4th placed AEK.

 
By Antoniou Marios
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