APOEL take down AEL in top of the table clash
CYPRIOT FIRST DIVISION - ROUND 17
|Date||Home Team||Score||Away Team|
|20-Jan-19||AEL Limassol||0 - 1||APOEL|
APOEL increased their lead in the Cypriot First Division to four points after defeating AEL Limassol 0:1 on the road in the weekend’s top of the table clash.
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APOEL visited Limassol and the Tsireio stadium to pair up with AEL in the weekend’s big derby in Cyprus. With APOEL sitting in first, just one point ahead of second placed AEL, it was clear that a lot was at stake in this fixture.
A balanced, conservative first half saw both teams trying to gain control of the game. In the 12th minute, a ball from Alex Da Silva found Ion Gaztanaga, but his header was an easy save for Boy Waterman. The midfield battle continued in the first half with the teams balancing each other out with priority set on keeping a clean sheet in the back. Due to this style of play, the 41st minute produced the next notable chance, this time for APOEL as Emilio Nsue sent the ball from the right side and Norbert Balogh headed off target, failing to threaten Patryk Procek. The first half ended in a goalless draw.
APOEL were the team that managed to break the deadlock in the second half. After a beautiful effort from Balogh, who crossed into the heart of AEL’s defense, a deflection sent the ball towards Nsue, who took the effort but it was blocked by the hands of Andre Teixeira. The latter saw his second yellow card of the night and Nuno Morais took the penalty and beat Procek to put the defending champions in a leading position. With the arithmetic advantage and a goal on hand, APOEL took control of the game.
In the 68th minute, the visitors came close to doubling their lead as a shot from Giorgos Efraim went just over Procek’s crossbar. In the 77th minute, Nicholas Ioannou saw a red card for a hard foul on Andreas Makris (on loan from APOEL) and both teams were left playing with ten men. APOEL, though, continued to have the upper hand and during stoppage time, they missed a great opportunity for another goal. First, Kostakis Artymatas hit the post and Efraim sent the ball wide in front of an open net. The missed chance did not affect the outcome as APOEL celebrated an important win over their title-hunting rivals.
APOEL are now four points clear of AEL and Apollon, taking one giant step closer to their seventh consecutive championship with Sunday’s win. On the other hand, AEL failed to return to top spot and their loss is a massive setback for their title dreams.