AEK take Cypriot Cup as Apollon fall short again
CYPRIOT SOCCER CUP - FINAL
|AEK Larnaca||2 - 1||Apollon Limassol|
Apollon finished second best once again, as AEK Larnaca rallied to win the Cypriot Cup with a 2:1 scoreline over the Limassol side.
For a second straight year, the final was held in the Cypriot capital, Nicosia, at the GSP Stadium, the largest stadium in Cyprus. AEK Larnaca, who finished 4th in the league this season, matched up against Apollon Limassol who finished runner-ups in a dramatic ending in league play.
Apollon had the better of early possession, but the first good chance fell to AEK’s Ivan Trickovski, whose shot was saved by Bruno Vale, and the Apollon defense cleared the rebound to safety. Apollon then came knocking, Giorgos Vasiliou’s strike was saved by Juan Pablo, and the rebound came to Fotis Papoulis, but his effort hit the post and stayed out.
Then a hectic first-half stoppage time period followed. First, Andre Schembri appeared to score, but the goal was called back on an offside before Acoran appeared to score, but that goal was also called back for offside. Papoulis then played a cross for Schembri, Pablo got a piece of it, but not enough, and the ball ended in the back of the net as the goal stood. It was 1:0 for Apollon at the half through the Maltese striker.
There was more balanced play in the second half with Trickovski creating the first chance of the half as Vale knocked the ball down and kept the effort under control. Then from a free kick, AEK came again seeking the equalizer, and got it from Florian Taulemesse, whose initial header was saved by Pablo, but he followed up his own rebound and leveled the match in the 69th minute.
With their opponents still reeling, AEK struck again just two minutes later, when off a rush, Acoran slotted a shot past Vale, and AEK had their first lead of the final. Apollon did not give up easily, and Papoulis managed to dribble around Pablo, but the AEK defense rushed him enough to miss the target. In stoppage time, there was little in the way of game action, however there was a ruckus which caused Esteban Sacchetti and Apostolos Giannou to be sent off.
AEK hung onto their 2:1 advantage to win the Cypriot Cup for just the second time in club history and their first since 2004. For Apollon, just as it was in the league, they came up just a bit short in the end to finish runner-ups
HIGHLIGHTS: AEK - APOLLON