Hope for Olympiacos, Wins for Doxa & Salamina

Hope for Olympiacos, Wins for Doxa & Salamina
 

CYPRIOT 1st DIV: RELEGATION PLAYOFFS (MATCHDAY 4)

Date Home Team Score Away Team
31-Mar-18 Doxa Katokopias 4 - 3 Alki Oroklini
31-Mar-18 Nea Salamina 2 - 0 Ermis Aradippou
1-Apr-18 Olympiakos Nicosia 3 - 0 Pafos

Matchday 4 in the relegation group sparked some hope for last placed Olympiakos after a 3:0 win over Pafos. Salamina took a big step towards safety after defeating Ermis 2:0, while Doxa prevailed against Alki in a seven goal thriller. 

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With a 2:0 home win over Ermis, Nea Salamina climbed into 3rd place of the group with a 10 point cushion from last placed Olympiakos. The hosts started strong as they looked to find the opener early on, with Makriev and Mintikkis forcing Arampatzis to two saves in the first ten minutes of the match. Ermis created their first chance in the 15th minute, but Tsoumou’s header hit Kirev’s right post. The pace slowed down as half-time approached, with Arampatzis stopping a shot from Eloundou in the 39th minute for the last important action before the break. 

Four minutes into the second half, Tsoumou failed to give the lead to Ermis as his deflected shot was blocked by the foot from Kirev, before Monteiro wasted another chance for the visitors as his shot went just wide in the 58th minute. However, it was Salamina who struck two minutes later when Ermis’ captain, Giannis Taralidis, sent the ball into his own net in an effort to block Mintikkis ball that was aimed for Makriev. Eloundou doubled the home side’s lead in the 65th minute after he broke free on his side of the field and easily reached Ermis penalty area to beat Arampatzis for a 2:0 Salamina lead. The two goal lead made things simple for Salamina and they comfortably retained their lead until the final whistle. Despite the loss, Ermis are established in 8th place with Salamina closing in, just three points behind.
 

After a seven goal thriller, it was Doxa who grabbed a 4:3 home win over Alki Oroklinis to continue to lead the relegation group table. Doxa came into the game looking for the early goal which they found just after twelve minutes of play with Thomas Ioannou. Alki found the equaliser seven minutes later when Bilal’s shot was too much for Gremsl to handle. Soon after, Malfleury put the visitors in charge as he notched in the rebound from an effort by Fabricio, which was blocked by Gremsl. Doxa’s Eninful took advantage of poor defending to bring things even one again for Doxa in the 37th minute, however the rain of first half goals did not stop there as Fabricio’s header in stoppage-time would put Alki once again in front, concluding a five goal first half. 

The second half was much different as Doxa showed that they wanted to overturn the game and in return, they dominated their opponents. Luis Carlos quickly equalised in the 53rd minute and after continuous attacking efforts from the home side, they would finally find the winner in the final play of the game. Sadik was first to the ball, beating Pardo, and his header soared into the back of the net to give Doxa the three points and a four point advantage over 8th place Ermis. Alki retreated to 10th placed after Salamina’s win, but remain a comfortable nine points clear of relegation.  
 

Olympiakos earned a huge 3:0 home win over Pafos to revive their hopes for avoiding relegation. Pafos started better and had a big chance to open the scoring in the 17th minute, but Rogulic’s shot was first blocked by Hindi and then cleared by Christophides on the goal line. However it was Olympiakos who struck first and Polizzi converted his effort into the opening goal of the match in the 25th minute. The home side came close to doubling their lead twice with Polizzi and Pechlivanis, while Pafos wasted a big chance to pull level when Hindi denied Janza’s superb free kick. 

Like the first half, the visitors started better in the second half in an effort to equalize and they came close in doing so, with Rogulic and Bruls failing to score early on. Thirteen minutes from the end, Olympiakos doubled their lead with Tribeau providing the all-important insurance goal to ease the pressure off the hosts. Pafos did not go down without a fight and attempted to get back into the game, but Hindi stopped efforts from Berigaud and Roghulic, while Ziamparis cleared the ball off the goal line from a corner. Castro would put the icing on the cake for the hosts to form the final 3:0 scoreline in the 89th minute. With the win, Olympiakos inched closer to Pafos with the difference now at six points and with six games to go, things have opened up in the fight to avoid the drop. 
 

 
by Marios Antoniou
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