APOEL battle back to salvage draw
CYPRIOT FIRST DIVISION - MATCHDAY 21
|APOEL||2 - 2||AEK Larnaca|
APOEL and AEK Larnaca ultimately cancelled each other out with a 2:2 draw, but it took a furious late APOEL rally to make it so.
APOEL hosted AEK Larnaca at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia, hoping to add to their league lead, while AEK hoped to strengthen their place in the top 6 for a playoff spot. APOEL brought the early pressure, Musa Al-Taamari who hasn’t been as good since returning from injury skied one over the net. Andre Vidigal had a shot on goal, but as powerful as it was, it was also right at the AEK keeper Tono Ramirez. Antonio Jakolis then set up Leo Natel, but Natel couldn’t keep the shot down and it sailed over the net. APOEL had all the chances, but no finish, and the score was 0:0 at the half, a break for AEK.
APOEL continued to bring the heat in the second half, but still had the same difficulty making it count. Vidigal then played in a ball for Natel, but Ramirez alertly raced out and beat him to the ball. Then came the plot twist nobody could have been expecting based on the run of play. Jorge Larena played a picture perfect long ball that found Ivan Trickovski. Giorgos Merkis went for the tackle, but Trickovski sidestepped him and fired one past Boy Waterman, and in the 64th minute, it was AEK who drew first blood. APOEL looked for the quick equalizer as they had a free kick that was played into the box. Carlao found himself unmarked for a free header, but he narrowly missed the target wide. AEK got away with poor defending and remained ahead. A coast to coast play made life even more difficult for the hosts. Of all things, it started with a goal kick. Ramirez took the goal kick long, and Hector Hevel got to it first, and he played the ball wide for Apostolos Giannou who dribbled and found Trickovski going to the net. Trickovski finished off the play, leaving no prayer for Waterman to do anything. The 75th minute goal gave AEK the 2:0 lead. APOEL became more desperate, but the desperation paid as Giorgos Afraim headed a pass to Roman Bezjak, and finally APOEL were on the board in the 83rd minute. The equalizer was not far behind. Just two minutes later, an APOEL corner delivered. Efraim was the playmaker again, he had the service that found the head of Lucas Souza, and the match was level. It ended that way, as well, a 2:2 draw between APOEL and AEK Larnaca. APOEL did extend their lead to 4 points over Apollon and AEL Limassol for the league lead, but they probably feel as though that lead should be bigger. AEK remain in 4th, 10 points off APOEL for the lead.
HIGHLIGHTS: APEOL - AEK LARNACA