Important wins for Omonoia and Apollon
CYPRIOT FIRST DIVISION - ROUND 17
|Date||Home Team||Score||Away Team|
|19-Jan-19||Omonia||3 - 1||Nea Salamina|
|19-Jan-19||Ermis Aradippou||0 - 3||Apollon Limassol|
Both Omonoia and Apollon earned desperately needed wins. Omonoia did themselves a lot of favors for their playoff push with a 3:1 win over Nea Salamina, and Apollon helped their title chances with a 3:0 win away to Ermis Aradippou.
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Omonoia hosted Nea Salamina at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia. Some early controversy as Charles Eloundou played a cross into the box that was played by Jordi Gomez. Eloundou wanted a handball call which would have resulted in a penalty, but it wasn’t given. Replay appeared to show Gomez playing the ball legally with his chest. Newly acquired Abdul Ajagun on loan for Kortrijk had a shot from distance, well placed, but from too far away leaving ample time for Salamina’s backup goalkeeper, and former Omonoia keeper John Alvbage to get over and make the save. Daniel Sikorski skied a good attempt over the net, and Eloundou had his shot through traffic saved by Tomas Mejias. Good two-way traffic, but no score at the half.
The breakthrough came in the 58th minute, when all of Omonoia’s new arrivals connected. Ajagun played the ball for newly acquired Charis Mavrias who looked for Gomez but instead found another new addition, Dimitris Kolovos. The Greek connection from Mavrias to Kolovos created the opening goal the hosts wanted, as Kolovos fired the ball past Alvbage and Omonoia into the lead. 7 minutes later, the same connection, Mavrias found a well-marked Kolovos, and Kolovos fought to get a shot off, which he did, and Alvbage was caught napping, and Omonoia’s advantage was doubled. Salamina needed a goal to stop the bleeding, and they got it as the Omonoia defense all chased Kingsley Onuegbu and forgot to cover Thiago, who Onuegbu found, and he beat Mejias high to cut the visitors’ deficit in half in the 69th minute. They almost equalized immediately, Eloundou had his shot blocked in front, and the ball went to Onuegbu, who got the shot on goal, but Mejias was there. Instead, all hope of a comeback were crushed when Kolovos dribbled through the Salamina defense and found David Ramirez coming through the box, Alvbage had no chance, and the 72nd minute goal was the backbreaker. Kolovos sought the hat trick in stoppage time, but Alvbage denied him at least that much. Nonetheless, Omonoia earned a valuable 3:1 win at home to Nea Salamina and a valuable three points to go with it. Omonoia are still in 7th place, but knocking on the door of a playoff spot, just a point behind Anorthosis, 2 points behind AEK Larnaca, and 3 points behind Salamina themselves, they’re in 4th place.
Ermis Aradippou hosted Apollon at Stadio Ammochostos in Larnaca. Apollon got the quick start they were looking for as Emilio Zelaya surprised Giannis Firinidis with a quick release. Firinidis got a piece of it, but the shot overpowered him as he was marginally too slow to react, and with the match less than 4 minutes old, the visitors led. Ermis looked for a response and Giorgos Katsiati fired off a powerful strike, but it sailed over the net. Then Paris Psaltis had a go, but the save was made by Bruno Vale. Dimitar Makriev also tested Vale, but once again Vale came out on top, as he parried the shot aside. Ermis were the better team after the opening goal, but against the run of play, their luck worsened. Adrian Sardinero received a pass from Zelaya and dribbled into the box. His first shot was saved by Firinidis, but he got his own rebound and shot it again with Firinidis down and out. Konstantinos Banousis was behind Firindis to try to clear the line, but instead he inadvertently redirected the ball into his own net and he was charged with an own goal. The 41st minute marker made the halftime score 2:0 in favor of Apollon.
Deflated, the hosts pretty much allowed Apollon to take the game to them in the second half. Kevin Bru had a shot that was saved by Firinidis, the rebound was skied over the net by Sardinero. Zelaya then found Joao Pedro but Firinidis stopped him as well. Ermis did get one notable chance, their Ukrainian skipper Yaroslav Martynyuk blasted a long distance shot that Vale somehow got an arm on and knocked aside. The shot seemed to be labelled for the top corner, and Vale robbed him. Martynyuk then drew a penalty as he was taken down in the box. Martynyuk took it himself, but he was once again bested by Vale, who guessed correctly and got it with his legs. The rebound came to Yiannis Mavrou, and Vale denied him, too! To add insult to injury, in stoppage time Anton Maglica set up Mustapha Carayol, and the Gambian midfielder changed the final score to 3:0 for Apollon over Ermis Aradippou. Apollon are now in 2nd place, just a point behind APOEL for the lead, and level on points with their stadium mates AEL Limassol. Both APOEL and AEL have played one less match, but it’s worth mentioning that they will play each other before Matchday 16 is out. Ermis for their part are in 11th place.