Apollon slip up against 10-man AEK Larnaca

Apollon slip up against 10-man AEK Larnaca


Date Home Team Score Away Team
16-Dec-18 Nea Salamis 0 - 0 Paralimni
17-Dec-18 Apollon Limassol 3 - 3 AEK Larnaca

In a game in which both teams could have used the 3 points, it ended in a 3:3 stalemate between Apollon and AEK Larnaca. Also, Nea Salamina and Enosis Neon Paralimni played to a scoreless draw.

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Cyprus’ two UEFA Europa League representatives had a showdown at the Tsirion Stadio in Limassol as Apollon hosted AEK Larnaca. The goals were flying early and often, and the visitors actually drew first blood, as a corner was played short to Igor Silva who found David Catala who beats Bruno Vale with a header, and it was 1:0 for AEK in the 6th minute. Silva had his own chance in tight, but this time Vale made the save. The hosts had their response as a long ball found the head of Marios Stylianou who headed it to Anton Maglica, who in turn headed the ball past Tono Ramirez, and it was all level in the 16th minute. Then it was Vale to the rescue making a great save on a free kick off the boot of Hector Hevel. Vale also came up large on another free kick by Jorge Larena. Against the run of play, the hosts attacked, Andre Schembri went down in the box, nothing was given and the play carried on, and with the confusion Facundo Pereyra found the loose ball. Pereyra got cut off by Ramirez, but the ball remained loose and Maglica was the first to find it, and in the 41st minute, Apollon had their first lead. The score remained 2:1 for Apollon at the half.

Things seemed to only be getting worse for AEK early in the second half when Facundo Garcia took a second yellow card. Two yellows make a red, and Garcia was sent off. AEK were down a goal, and now down a man. Hard work however, would level the match once again. Richard Soumah hung onto the ball too long in his own end, and Silva hustled to outmuscle him and steal the ball, and then he made a centering pass to Apostolos Giannou who beat Vale before he knew what hit him. Vale punted the ball in disgust and glared at Soumah, but on the hour mark, it was 2:2. Nonetheless, the hosts seemed to have won it in the 85th minute, as Giorgos Vasiliou sent in a cross. There was contact, and Ramirez was unable to hang onto the ball, and Fotis Papoulis pounced to restore the Apollon advantage. Ramirez screamed for a foul, but his pleas fell on deaf ears. On replay, it also seemed as though Papoulis used his arm to control the ball before shooting it into the net, but nonetheless the goal counted. However, 7 minutes were added on to the second half, and early into that stoppage time, they earned a free kick, which played in, and pinballed around, eventually going off Truyols and into the net for a shock equalizer! So the result was a highly entertaining 3:3 draw between Apollon and AEK Larnaca in Limassol. Apollon undoubtedly will be disappointed to drop two points they feel they should have had with multiple leads and an extra man for almost the entire second half. They’ll feel the sting in the standings, too. They’ve fallen to 3rd place, now 3 points behind APOEL, and 5 points behind their co-tenants at the Tsirion, AEL Limassol, albeit with a game in hand. For AEK, they improve to 4th place, they are 6 points behind Apollon with a game in hand, 9 points behind APOEL and 11 behind AEL, with two games in hand on both.

At the Stadio Ammochostos in Larnaca, Nea Salamina hosted Enosis Neon Paralimni. Ioannis Pittas had a go for the visitors but missed the net. Thiago had a go for the hosts, but Boris Klaiman denied him with a nice save. Pittas came knocking again, on target this time, but Robert Veselovsky was there with the save. Gonzalo Zarate thought he had caught Veselovsky off his line from midfield, but Veselovsky backtracked and made the save with ease, and that was it for a scoreless first half.

In the second half, again both teams had their chances. Charles Eloundou was turned away by Klaiman. Pittas had two chances, but Veselovsky had just as many saves. Farshad Noor found himself with ample space and time to shoot, but inexplicably shot the ball right at Klaiman. Renato Margaca had a better test for Klaiman with a powerful free kick labelled for the top corner, but Klaiman heroically jumped up and got his arm on it. Eloundou then earned a penalty when Hovhannes Hambardzumyan blocked a shot with his upper arm. Hambardzumyan claimed the ball hit his ribcage and then his arm, but the penalty was nevertheless given. Thiago took the penalty and sent Klaiman the wrong way, but he hit the inside of the post and did not get the friendly bounce. The ball stayed out and the match stayed scoreless. Then the visitors tried to steal the win as Pittas found Zarate open in the box, and this time Veselovsky was the hero, getting a boot on it. The match ended as it began, 0:0, a point for both Nea Salamina and Enosis Neon Paralimni. Salamina remain in 6th place, inching closer to their dream of a playoff spot. Enosis remain in 10th place.


by Andrew Mantzas

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