Apollon Demolish AEL, All even between AEK & Anorthosis

Apollon Demolish AEL, All even between AEK & Anorthosis
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CYPRIOT 1ST DIV: CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYOFFS (MATCHDAY 1)

Apollon Limassol 5 - 1 AEL Limassol
Yuste 11'
Papoulis (P)45'+4',58'
Markovic 61',75'

Gabionetta 81'


The playoffs began this weekend in the Cypriot First Division with Apollon thumping AEL 5:1 while AEK Larnaca and Anorthosis played to an entertaining 2:2 draw.

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The Cypriot First Division championship playoff group began with the Limassol Derby at the Tsirio Stadio as Apollon hosted AEL Limassol. Apollon started strong and opened the scoring in the 11th minute when a free kick from Alex da Silva was volleyed into the net by Hector Yuste. AEL would get a good chance to answer quickly, but David Teixeira was denied on a breakaway by Bruno Vale. Another free kick from da Silva forced a good save from AEL keeper Vozinha, keeping the scores at 1:0. It seemed as though AEL would finish out the first half only down by a goal, but in stoppage time, Jander was taken down in the box by Marco Airosa and a penalty was awarded to the hosts. Fotis Papoulis converted from the spot to double the halftime advantage for Apollon. 

In the second half, the floodgates opened up in the AEL defense. Pressure from Apollon caused the ball to ricochet right to Papoulis who with his second of the match extended the home sideโ€™s lead to 3:0 in the 58th minute. Three minutes later, Sasa Markovic would slot a low strike past Vozinha for a 4:0 lead before AEL was caught pressing up the field and Antonio Jakolis found Markovic who finished for his second of the match (75). AEL would get on the board in the final 10 minutes, through Denilsonโ€™s consolation goal, but otherwise, it was a 5:1 rout in favor of Apollon. 

With the win, Apollon temporarily take over top spot ahead of APOEL, who tomorrow play against their rivals Omonoia. AEL remain in 5th.


AEK Larnaca 2 - 2 Anorthosis
Larena (P)59'
Giannou 60'

Abdullayev 34'
Duris 77'

Meanwhile in Larnaca, AEK Larnaca hosted Anorthosis at the Georgios Karapatakis-AEK Arena. The teams traded chances early on, but eventually, the visitors would strike first through Araz Abdullayev in the 34th minute. The Azerbaijani midfielder got his head on a cross which beat AEK goalkeeper Juan Pablo to the far post. This would be the only goal of the first half as  Anorthosis took their one-goal lead into the break. 

In the second half, Apostolos Giannou was taken down in the box and a penalty was awarded to AEK in the 59th minute. Jorge Larena took the penalty and sent Ariel Harush going the wrong way to level the scores at one a piece. Just a minute later, Giannou showed himself again as he latched onto a through ball from Nelson and slotted the ball past Harush to give AEK their first lead of the match. Anorthosis would respond, however, as Michal Duris put things back on level terms as his strike found the back of the net in the 77th minute with Pablo unable to get enough of a touch to keep the ball out. The stalemate persisted, and the match ended in a 2:2 draw. 

The results keeps Anorthosis in 3rd place while AEK sit three points behind them in 4th.

 
By Andreas Mantzas
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