Late AEL equaliser denies Apollon in the Limassol derby
CYPRIOT FIRST DIVISION - MATCHDAY 18
|Apollon||1 - 1||AEL Limassol|
|Zelaya 49'||Arruabarrena 87'|
The battle of Limassol ended in a stalemate, as a controversial late goal from Mikel Arruabarrena salvaged a 1:1 draw for AEL against Apollon.
With the match entering its final three minutes, a firm header struck the Apollon crossbar, but Mikel Arruabarrena bundled the rebound in with his chest to grab a dramatic equaliser for AEL. Apollon’s players protested furiously with the referee claiming handball, however the goal was deemed to be clean.
The teams share the Tsirion Stadium in Limassol, but it was nominated hosts Apollon who attempted to play with the initiative. A dangerous low pass across the penalty area was deflected into Vozinha’s grateful grasp, before an off-balance Emilio Zelaya blasted wide at point blank range. Nevertheless, at the end of the first half, AEL had a huge shout for a spot kick. Mesca’s pass appeared to cannon off an Apollon arm, but the referee waved play on.
Apollon eventually broke the deadlock just four minutes into the second half. Nicolas Martinez’s superb looping cross found the head of Zelaya, who planted a pinpoint effort into the right corner. The intensity increased as time rolled on, with both teams presented with half-chances on the counterattack. It looked as though Apollon would see the match out for a vital victory, but Arruabarrena’s last-gasp heroics saved a huge point for AEL. Incidentally, the goal was AEL’s first in four matches.
Following this result, fourth placed Apollon remain five points off the pace in the Cypriot First Division, but they do have two games in hand. AEL are one position behind in fifth, boasting 30 points compared to Apollon’s 35.