Alki hold APOEL in Nicosia, AEL inch closer to top spot
CYPRIOT FIRST DIVISION - ROUND 18
|Date||Home Team||Score||Away Team|
|27-Jan-19||Paralimni||1 - 2||AEL Limassol|
|28-Jan-19||APOEL||0 - 0||Alki Oroklini|
Matchday 18 concluded on Monday with a surprise result as Alki held APOEL to a goalless draw, allowing Apollon and AEL Limassol to pull closer into top spot. Earlier on Sunday, the latter grabbed an important 2:1 comeback win over Paralimni on the road.
Watch LIVE GREEK TV including full GREEK SPORTS coverage from AGONASport.com!
AEL Limassol visited Enosis Neon Paralimni in Paralimni, in need of points, in a crucial game to stay close to the top of the table. The home side were the team that started better and in the 18th minute, Chigozie Udoji sent a warning shot, forcing Patryk Procek to a big save from a free kick. Moments later, Sokratis Fytanidis headed home the corner to give Paralimni the surprising lead. In the 31st minute, Udoji almost doubled the hosts’ lead, but Procek’s acrobatic effort denied the goal. Late in the half, a strong shot from Marko Adamovic went just wide of Boris Klaiman’s post, with Paralimni holding their slender lead.
AEL improved in the second half and Marko Adamovic leveled things in the 58th minute, receiving the ball in the heart of the Paralimni defense and with a strong effort beat Kleyman. Two minutes, AEL struck again this time with Dossa Junior who headed home a free kick to turn the game around. Paralimni failed to threaten in the second half as the visitors easily held their lead through the final whistle. AEL are now two points behind APOEL, alongside their local rivals Apollon. Paralimni are tenth, two and four points clear of Pafos FC and Ermis.
APOEL went into the game with Alki feeling the pressure from the two Limassol teams as both won over the weekend. The league leaders came in looking for the goal and just a minute into the game, a good shot from Leo Natel was blocked by the defense. In the 7th minute, APOEL were awarded a penalty as Nuno Morais was held by Marios Elia in a good position after a free kick. Morais took the effort, however former APOEL keeper Urko Pardo guessed correctly and denied the spot kick with a big save. The hosts kept the pressure going, but efforts from Ghayas Zahid and Caju did not find the target. Norbert Balogh had an effort in the 44th minute, but Pardo once again was ready for it, with the first half ending goalless.
Alki improved in the second half while APOEL were struggling to find their way towards the net. In the 71st minute, the arithmetic balance was tipped in Alki’s favor as Lucas Souza saw a second yellow card after he pushed Aikel Gadacha, who had just committed a rough foul on him. In the 80th minute, Alki almost shocked the hosts with Ivan Carlos, who went on the counter, but Boy Waterman impressively kept the clean sheet. Three minutes later, it was Pardo’s turn, denying a similar effort from Natel. Despite last minutes efforts to go forward, APOEL could not threaten Alki with the game ending 0:0. APOEL are still first, however they are feeling the pressure with Apollon and AEL close behind. Monday’s result saw the Nicosia side break a nine-game winning streak while Alki managed to escape the GSP stadium with an important draw and hold onto ninth place.