APOEL Sink AEL, Doxa in Big Danger of Relegation (Playoffs Matchday 2 Recap)

APOEL Sink AEL, Doxa in Big Danger of Relegation



Date Home Team Score Away Team
18-Mar-17 Apollon 3 - 3 AEK Larnaca
18-Mar-17 Omonia 2 - 0 Anorthosis
20-Mar-17 APOEL 2 - 0 AEL Limassol
19-Mar-17 Aris Limassol 4 - 1 Doxa
19-Mar-17 Ethnikos Achnas 0 - 2 Nea Salamis
19-Mar-17 Ermis 3 - 1 Karmiotissa

Marios Antoniou from AGONAsport.com brings you a full recap of Matchday 2 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...

Apollon and AEK faced off in the battle between the 2nd and 3rd placed teams with Apollon coming back late to earn a 3-2 win. AEK opened the scoring with a strike from Florian Tolemes less than 3 minutes into the game before Αpollon equalized with Cypriot left back Giorgos Vasileiou, who scored his first goal for the galazioi of Limassol. The rest of the 1st half did not produce any more goals however it was filled with tensions. In a controversial scuffle between Apollon’s midfielder Sacchetti and AEK’s Ivan Trickovski, the referee showed a yellow card to Sacchetti while sending Trickovski off with a straight red card. However, just before half time, Apollon were also left with 10-men when Roberge was given a red card after a foul on Acoran. The 2nd half started with both teams trying to find their form playing with 10 players. AEK scored their second of the game with Garrido in the 75th minute, however Apollon turn things arounds with two late goals in stoppage time from Vinicius and Guie as they celebrated a thrilling victory. Apollon now sit in 2nd place, 7 points behind APOEL, with AEK retrieving to 3rd two points behind Apollom.

In the second derby of the weekend, Anorthosis visited Nicosia to face off against Omonia with the hosts prevailing with a 2-0 scoreline. Both teams wasted many chances in the first half, before the league’s leading scorer Matt Derbyshire received a “pare vale” pass from Christophi and with a beautiful back heel opened the score for Omonoia in the 35th minute. It was a similar story in the 2nd half, with Omonia once again striking, this time with Christophi’s brilliant effort, to double their lead in the 74th minute. With the result, Omonia moved into 4th place with the help of AEL’s defeat to APOEL. As for Anorthosis, they do not have much to play for and their bad performance shows that a lot of things must change during the offseason.

The last game of the 1st group was the derby of the blue and yellow teams as APOEL defeated AEL 2-0 in Nicosia. APOEL started the game with a very fast pace and wasted many chances for an opener while AEL were looking to first defend, then attack. The Galazokitrinoi had to wait until the last minute of the first half to get what they deserved when Pieros Sotiriou scored his 18th goal of the season with a successful penalty kick. APOEL continued the same way in the 2nd half and a few minutes after the restart, Roger Canas (on loan from Astana) doubled their lead with his first goal for the club. The 2nd goal killed off the game as APOEL easy held their advantage, increasing their lead to 7 points atop the table. AEL dropped to 5th place and will to need improve substantially if they want to secure a place in next year’s European competitions.

Ermis continue to lead the 2nd group hosting Karmiotissa in a 3-1 victory. The 1st half, however, was an absolute monologue from Karmiotissa, with their players creating multiple chances to open the score, but having nothing to show for their efforts. In their best chance of the half, Barbaro was unable to score from the penalty spot sending the ball over the crossbar. It was a completely different story in the second half as Ermis came out firing and Mashinya managed to open the score for the hosts in the 65th minute and 11 minutes later, a rocket from Bouwman doubled Ermis’ lead. Karmiotissa continued their efforts to get back into the game and they managed to score with Pantos in stoppage time. However, Ermis killed the game in the following minute as youngster Psaltis scored just before the end securing all three points for the hosts. Ermis sit in 1st in the relegation group with 38 points, while Karmiotissa are 4th tied with Ethnikos and Aris on 30 points.

Salamina recorded an important win on the road as they defeated Ethnikos Achnas 0-2. Bulgarian striker Dimitar Makriev scored early in the 1st half, with little other action to note in the opening half. Salamina doubled their lead with Nicholas Egglezou in the early minutes of the 2nd half to gain complete control of the match. The visitors wasted a great chance for a 3rd goal as Makriev failed to convert from the penalty spot, sending the ball over the bar. On the other hand, Ethnikos did not prove to be a threat and they remained 3rd  with Karmiotissa and Aris now tied on points with the side from Achnas. Salamina put on a good performance and are now 2nd, 4 points behind the leaders Ermis.

The most important game in the 2nd group ended with a 4-1 win for Aris over Doxa in Limassol. Doxa lost goalkeeper Alexander Negri early in the game as he saw a red card for a foul on Maragkoudakis, leaving his side with 10-men for most of the match. Aris took full advantage of the extra man and scored twice before half time with Maragkoudakis and Youssef. The hosts put the game out of reach with a third goal in the 2nd half with Andreas Fragkos (was in an offsides position) before Braulio managed to pull one back for Doxa a few minutes later. Late in the match, Youssef scored his 2nd goal of the game to give Aris the emphatic 4-1 win. With this result, Aris are now 7 points clear of the relegation zone with Doxa needing to overcome the difference in the final 8 games to avoid relegation.

by: Marios Antoniou
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