Apollon dispatch Austria Wien
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE - 3RD QUALIF. ROUND (LEG 2)
Apollon recorded their second win over Austria Wien in the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round to advance to the final stage of qualifying where they will play PSV Eindhoven.
Despite a slow start, Apollon are through to the playoff round of UEFA Europa League qualifying seeing off Austria Wien 3:1 in Nicosia, winning the aggregate 5:2. An 18th minute goal actually saw the Austrian side draw first blood through Maudo Jarjue, but the Limassol side answered with a Serge Gakpe penalty just before halftime. A 55th minute own goal broke the deadlock, and a 67th minute goal by Giannis Gianniotas served as the knockout punch.
Apollon will next face reputable Dutch side PSV Eindhoven.
Apollon hosted Austria Wien at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia due to the fact that the Tsirion Stadio in Limassol does not currently meet UEFA standards. After a tentative first few minutes, the plot thickened quickly. A free kick off the boot of the Austria Wien Captain, Alexander Grunwald, was played in and Maudo Jarjue got his head on the ball before Joel Mall could get to it. Mall was a little slow to come off his line, and the 18th minute goal gave the visitors a surprising early lead.
Giannis Gianniotas looked to answer but his shot was turned aside by Ivan Lucic. Then, Facundo Pereyra had a go, which Lucic batted into the air, Adrian Sardinero got to the rebound, but his header was stopped by Lucic as well.
In stoppage time, Jarjue who scored the goal, gave it right back as he fouled Gianniotas in the box. It was the second time in as many weeks he gave away a penalty. Serge Gakpe stepped up to take the penalty, sent Lucic the wrong way, and the halftime score was 1:1.
In the second half, Christoph Monschein went down easily in the box, but the referee was not fooled, and his shouts for a penalty fell on deaf ears. At the other end, after a long sequence of nice passing, Diego Aguirre received the ball along the left flank. Aguirre sped down the line, faked a cross, dribbled along the goal line, and then banked it off Johannes Handl and past Lucic. Handl was charged with an own goal, but most importantly, in the 55th minute, Apollon had their first lead of the match.
Grunwald hoped for more free kick magic, this time he fired a well-placed strike labeled for the bottom corner, but Mall had an even better save waiting for him to keep his side ahead. Apollon rewarded their keeper with an insurance marker. Joao Pedro served in a corner that found Gianniotas. Gianniotas unleashed a shot that Lucic never saw through the maze of bodies and the 67th minute goal dealt the final blow.
The visitors didn’t give up, Benedikt Pichler forced more acrobatics from Mall. Then, Mall had to be alert to stop an attempt off the head of Grunwald. Apollon kept their Austrian visitors at bay and won the match 3:1, and the aggregate 5:2, now just one step away from the group stage of the UEFA Europa League.
Apollon(Sofronis Avgousti): 36. Joel Mall(GK), 10. Sasa Markovic, 14. Facundo Pereyra(‘66 9. Ioannis Pittas), 17. Joao Pedro, 18. Diego Aguirre, 20. Giannis Gianniotas, 25. Chambos Kyriakou(‘74 2. Emilio Nsue), 41. Attila Szalai, 44. Hector Yuste(Captain), 77. Adrian Sardinero, 87. Serge Gakpe(‘83 11. Emilio Zelaya)
Austria Wien(Christian Ilzer): 13. Ivan Lucic(GK), 3. Maudo Jarjue, 5. Vesel Demaku, 7. Maximilian Sax(‘63 20. Bright Edomwonyi), 8. Stephan Zwierschitz, 10. Alexander Grunwald(Captain), 14. Christoph Monschein(‘71 11. Benedikt Pichler), 17. Florian Klein, 28. Christoph Martschinko, 36. Dominik Fitz(‘63 4. James Jeggo), 46. Johannes Handl