Weekend of upsets in Cyprus

Weekend of upsets in Cyprus

CYPRIOT FIRST DIVISION - ROUND 11

Date Home Team Score Away Team
3-Dec-18 Paralimni 2 -1 AEK Larnaca
2-Dec-18 Anorthosis 2 - 1 Ermis Aradippou
2-Dec-18 Doxa Katokopias 3 - 2 Pafos
1-Dec-18 Alki Oriklini 2 - 0 Nea Salamis

It was an unpredictable weekend of football in the Cyprus First Division. Lots of upsets, including Alki Oroklini thwarting red-hot Nea Salamina with a 2:0 win, and Enosis Neon Paralimni shocking AEK Larnaca with a 2:1 upset. Also, Doxa Katokopias knocked off Pafos FC 3:2, and Anorthosis saw off Ermis Aradippou 2:1.

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We start at Stadio Ammochostos in Larnaca, the home of both teams in this one, but Alki Oroklini wasnthe home team in this contest against Nea Salamina. In just the first minute the teams traded chances. Charles Eloundou’s attempt was batted away by Urko Pardo, and at the other end El Hedi Belameiri was denied by Robert Veselovsky. A bizarre play broke the ice. For some reason, Veselovsky came way out of the box to play a ball that multiple Salamina defenders could have played, and the ball came to Matija Spoljaric who hit the empty net from long distance and gave Alki the lead in the 15th minute. Spoljaric had another chance soon after, but with Veselovsky actually in net, the save was made. Belameiri missed the net in stoppage time and it was 1:0 for Alki at halftime.

In the second half, the gameplay was a bit more even, Pardo and Veselovsky were both very sharp. In stoppage time, Salamina earned a corner and Ioannis Kosti received the ball with enough room to shoot, but Pardo was there to make the save, and on the counter, Alki put it away as Belameiri set up Marios Elia, who chipped Veselovsky to add insult to injury and give Alki the 2:0 win. Even with this win, Alki remain in last place, this was just their second win of the season, but important points nonetheless. Salamina remain in 5th place, they just didn’t have it in this one, even though they were in good form having won 5 of their last 6 matches coming in.

Next we go to the capital, Nicosia, where Doxa Katokopias hosted Pafos FC at the Makario Stadio. The action was pretty even for the last 25 minutes, when Pafos were called for a handball, resulting in a Doxa penalty. Berat Sadik converted past Joel Mall, and the 26th minute penalty made it 1:0 for Doxa. Bryan Angulo tried to answer for Pafos, but Armin Gremsl made a great save. They still got the quick answer they were looking for on the ensuing corner, though, as Federico Rasic headed it past Gremsl to level the score. Gremsl made a couple more saves, and the halftime score was 1:1.

In the second half, Angulo went down rather easily and the referee bought it, and it was a Pafos penalty. Angulo took it himself, and Gremsl got a piece of it, but not enough to keep it out, and Pafos pulled ahead, 2:1 in the 49th minute. The penalties kept coming as Nils Zatl was hauled down in the box for Doxa’s second penalty of the match. Sadik converted the first time, would he again? He did, with a well-taken penalty that was out of Mall’s reach, and it was all square again, 2:2 in the 61st minute. Sadik proved he can do more than take penalties, though, and used his head to set up the winner, Yevhen Pavlov took in the headed pass and fired it past Mall in the 72nd minute, and they never looked back. Doxa won the seesaw affair 3:2 over Pafos. Doxa rocketed up to 7th place, Pafos went down to 10th place.

Now back to Larnaca, as Anorthosis hosted Ermis Aradippou at the Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium. In the 21st minute, a gorgeous back heel by Nika Kacharava set up Michal Duris, and Giannis Arabatzis had no chance to stop that one, 1:0 for Anorthosis. If not for Arabatzis, the damage would have been worse, he made big saves on Joao Victor and Beka Mikeltadze, and Anorthosis would have to settle for a 1:0 halftime advantage.

Second half, Ermis pressed for an equalizer. A seemingly harmless long shot from Yaroslav Martynyuk gave Dimitris Demetriou more trouble than it should have, and he spilled out a big rebound, but Demetriou cleaned up his own mess by robbing Sekou Keita of a sure goal. Instead, on the hour mark, Erwin Koffi found himself in alone with Arabatzis, and placed a perfect shot off the inside of the post and in, giving Anorthosis the insurance marker. Giannis Taralidis gave Ermis life when he blasted an 88th minute penalty past Demetriou, but they ran out of time, and it was a 2:1 home win for Anorthosis over Ermis. Anorthosis remain in 6th place, Ermis remain in 11th place.

Finally, the most shocking result of the weekend from the Tasos Markou Municipal Stadium in Paralimni. Enosis Neon Paralimni hosted AEK Larnaca, just returned from Switzerland and their UEFA Europa League win over FC Zurich on Thursday. The first half was uneventful and there were no chances worth mentioning. In the 54th minute however, Chigozie Udoji sent in a light, but perfect cross which Ioannis Pittas headed powerfully past a helpless Tono Ramirez, that had Enosis thinking of an upset. Apostolos Giannou tried to respond, and tried a shot from distance when he had Acoran wide open for a higher percentage play. To Giannou’s credit, it was a nice shot that forced a great save from Boris Klaiman. The final blow was dealt in the 88th minute, as Pittas played a ball for Antonis Koumis, he beat Ramirez low, and it was 2:0. AEK managed a stoppage time penalty by Florian Taulemesse, but all that accomplished was breaking up Klaiman’s clean sheet. Enosis Neon Paralimni pulled the massive 2:1 upset at home to AEK Larnaca.

 

by Andrew Mantzas

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