AEL keep on winning, AEK disappoint once again
CYPRIOT FIRST DIVISION - ROUND 16
|Date||Home Team||Score||Away Team|
|13-Jan-19||AEK Larnaca||2 - 2||Ermis Aradippou|
|14-Jan-19||Alki Oroklini||1 - 3||AEL Limassol|
AEL Limassol continued their winning ways after a 3:1 road victory over Alki Oroklinis to sit in second place just a point behind their next opponents, APOEL. On the other hand, Cup holders, AEK Larnakas, were held to a 2:2 draw at home to last placed Ermis Aradippou. The game proved to be the last for Anthony Iraola, who lost his job after a series of bad results and inconsistency in the league.
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AEL wrapped up matchday 16 with a visit to Larnaka to face Alki. Early on, the visitors looked for the opener with the likes of Alex Da Silva moving the strings in Alki’s half of the pitch. The pressure brought results and it was Andreas Makris who received a clever ball from Leandro Silva, to beat Urko Pardo in the 23rd minute. Four minutes later, AEL struck again with Da Silva’s preferred method, a free kick that again Pardo could not keep out.
Alki came close to scoring in the 38th minute as Andreas Stavrou forced Patryk Procek to a big save after a cross from El Hedi Belameiri. Moments later, it was AEL’s turn once again with Makris finding himself in a great position, but passed the ball to Avraam, who sent his effort wide in front of an open net.
Alki gained ground in the second half and looked to get back into the game, while AEL sat on their two goal lead. Belameiri managed to score for the hosts with a beautiful header after an assist from Rafael Acosta in the 70th minute. The goal brought more life to the hosts and Alki continued pushing for the equalizer, however AEL managed to keep them from scoring a second goal. In stoppage time, Irhene Fidelis provided a perfect pass to Kire Markoski who was able to score AEL’s third of the night to seal a 3:1 victory for the visitors.
AEL go into next week’s big derby against APOEL with the opportunity to reclaim top spot in the standings, but will be without Dossa Junior and Nils Teixeira who saw yellow cards against Alki and will be suspended for the much anticipated clash. Despite the defeat, Alki remain in ninth, in what looks to be a tough battle in the fight to avoid relegation.
Earlier on Sunday, AEK hosted Ermis at the AEK Arena in a game of great importance for both teams. Within just ten minutes of play, Hector Hevel found the back of the net beating Ioannis Firinidis after a run from the left side of the field. Five minutes later, it was Hevel again who fired a shot, however this time he sent the ball well over the crossbar. Ermis did not hold back, though, and in the 28th minute, skipper Giannis Taralidis beat Tono Ramirez with a stunning free kick for the equalizer.
The goal shocked AEK and Ermis took control of the game as they looked to turn the match around. In the 40th minute, Ivan Malon met his head to a corner kick, but it was stopped by the post. Five minutes later, Giorgos Katsiatis was brought down by Konstantinos Anastasiou and a penalty was awarded to Ermis. Taralidis was on target once again and half time saw Ermis leading 2:1.
AEK came into the second half strong and pushed to find the equalizer. Firinidis stopped two efforts from David Catala and Florian Taulemesse, with Ermis holding onto their lead desperately. In the 74th minute, Ermis defenders cleared an AEK ball, but Francis Nganga miscalculated and touched the ball with his hand, resulting in a penalty for the Larnaka side. Taulemesse took the spot kick and brought things back to square for AEK. The hosts kept pressing for the winning goal, but Firinidis was there when needed, making important saves in the 80th minute and stoppage time to give Ermis a valuable and unexpected point.
AEK’s failure to defeat the league’s last placed team was enough to see Anthony Iraola end his spell as AEK coach. Imanol Idiakez, who coached the team the last two seasons and won the Cup, has been rumored with a return back to the club. The Larnaka side sit sixth in the standings and remain in the first group for the playoffs, however Omonoia are just three points behind. Ermis remain in last place, but will look to build on this impressive result and sit just four points behind 11th placed Paralimni.