APOEL come up short in Lithuania
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE - 1ST QUALIFYING ROUND (LEG 1)
|Suduva||3 - 1||APOEL|
|Cicilia 9',13',19'||Caju 90'+4'|
APOEL came up short in their first official match of the season, falling 3:1 to FK Suduva in Lithuania for the 1st Qualifying round of the Champions League.
The hosts shocked the Cypriot champions with Rigino Cicilia scoring a hat-trick by the 20th minute mark (9, 11, 19), leaving APOEL with a huge mountain to climb. With the lead clearly on their side, Suduva sat back in defense not allowing the already “shocked” Galazokitrinoi to threaten in the remainder of the first half.
Seeing his team in bad condition, Bruno Balthazar subbed on Stathis Aloneftis and Mickael Pote at halftime with hopes of making his team more of a threat on the attack. APOEL began to pressure and they closed the Lithuanians in their half of the field, however a stubborn Suduva defense made things challenging for the visitors. As everything seemed lost for APOEL, a header from Caju found the back of the net for a valuable away goal in the game’s final moments, sparking hope before next week’s second leg matchup.
APOEL will be eliminated from the Champions League if they lose, draw, or win next week’s game by one goal. A 2:0 victory will see them through on away goals while a three goal or more victory will also see them advance. A 3:1 APOEL win will result in extra time while an APOEL win by two goals if the Lithuanian champions score two or more goals (ex 4:2, 5:3) will result in elimination for APOEL (on away goals).