Big away wins for Pafos & Doxa, Alki in trouble

Big away wins for Pafos & Doxa, Alki in trouble
 

CYPRIOT 1st DIV: RELEGATION PLAYOFFS (MATCHDAY 4)

Date Home Team Score Away Team
30-Mar-19 Paralimni 1 - 2 Pafos
31-Mar-19 Ermis Aradippou 0 - 4 Doxa Katokopias
1-Apr-19 Anorthosis 3 - 0 Alki Oroklini

Matchday four in the relegation group saw Pafos FC and Doxa Katokopias achieve important away wins against Enosis Neon Paralimniou and Ermis Aradippou, respectively. Alki Oroklinis fell 3:0 to Anorthosis Ammochostou in the Monday fixture.

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Pafos FC visited Paralimni and the Tasos Markou Municipal Stadium to face the local team in a big matchup. The visitors wasted no time and opened the scoring just four minutes after kickoff. Andreas Karo sent the long ball and found Jens Cools, who beat Boris Klaiman with a header. Cools struck again in the 10th minute, receiving the ball in Paralimni’s penalty area and beat Klaiman again with a great finish. Paralimni almost got back into the game in the 17th minute, however Joel Mall came up big, stopping a close ranged header from Sokratis Fyntanides. Pafos took advantage of Paralimni’s worst first half of the season as led by two goals at halftime.

Enosis came into the second half with more confidence and found a goal in the 57th minute to get back into the game. Chigozie Udoji sent the ball from the right and Shoval Gozlan’s backheel was pushed into the net by Minas Antoniou. In the 64th minute, a strong header from Udoji was stopped by the post to keep Pafos ahead. Despite the stakes, Paralimni could not threaten furthermore and Pafos left with a 2:1 win that pulled them up to ninth place, two points clear of 11th placed Alki. Paralimni missed a great chance to pull away from the drop zone, but are now in tenth place still a point clear of relegation.

In Larnaca, Ermis Aradippou hosted Doxa Katokopias at the Stadio Ammochostos. For an away team, it was a dream start for Doxa. Ermis failed to clear a cross, Paul Batin headed it back to Vasilis Papafotis, who in turn laid it off for Benjamin Asamoah and he blasted it past Giannis Firinidis to put Doxa ahead in the 5th minute,. Ermis tried to answer quickly, but Dimitar Makriev sent a point blank header wide. Then Kike Boula set up a good chance for Makriev, but Armin Gremsl was up to the task. Doxa managed to retain their 1:0 advantage going into the halftime break.

Doxa had more where that came from in the second half, as the veteran Nektarios Alexandrou sent in a perfect cross that Batin rammed past Firinidis and into the net. The 53rd minute header made it 2:0 for Doxa. Alfonso Artabe tried to extend the lead further, but Firinidis sprawled out to deny him. Another effort by Artabe forced a penalty via a handball inside the box. Batin stepped up and scored his second goal of the match, sending Firinidis the wrong way as the 74th minute penalty iced it for Doxa.

At the other end, Indio drew a penalty of his own. The Ermis Captain Yaroslav Martynyuk usually takes the penalties, but he has struggled from the spot as of late, so Yiannis Mavrou stepped up instead. Naturally, Gremsl guessed correctly and made the save to deny Mavrou. To add salt to Ermis’ wounds, Vladimir Boljevic fired a shot at Firinidis, who made the save, but made a mess of the rebound, and Batin was all too happy to complete his hat trick. That 83rd minute goal was the final dagger, and Doxa recorded an emphatic 4:0 away win over Ermis Aradippou.

Doxa remain in 8th place, doing what they need to do to be safe. Ermis are in last place, getting very close to becoming a mathematical certainty to be relegated.

Also in Larnaca, Anorthosis hosted Alki Oroklini at the Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium on April 1st, which is a national holiday for the EOKA’s struggle against the British empire that led to the independence of Cyprus. Similar to the other game, the scoring began in the 5th minute. Nicolas Stefanelli made a drop pass to Vincent Bessat who fired on goal. Urko Pardo got to it, the ball popped into the air and touched down in the net behind him. Amazingly, no own goal was charged and Bessat got credit for the goal. Then Bessat turned playmaker as he found Michal Duris going to the net, and in the 22nd minute it was 2:0 for Anorthosis. During the goal celebration, however, the Anorthosis keeper Francis Uzoho made a gesture towards the Alki supporters, and 4th official Timotheos Christofi caught him. Uzoho was assessed a red card, forcing his backup Dimitris Demetriou to replace him. Uzoho has caused a lot of trouble for his club already this season, only recently becoming eligible again, and Demetriou was forced yet again to deputize for him. Nonetheless, Anorthosis were unfazed by this and on the half hour mark, they struck again, Danijel Pranjic blazed down the right wing and overpowered Pardo to make it 3:0. Anorthosis took this decisive lead into the half.

The second half was fairly uneventful, El Hedi Belameiri tried to make Demetriou work on a free kick, but instead skied it over the net. In the end, Anorthosis cruised to a 3:0 win at home to Alki Oroklini. This loss knocks Alki into the relegation zone in 11th place while Anorthosis are comfortably in 7th place now, at the top of the relegation group.

 

by Marios Antoniou & Andreas Mantzas

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