CYP 1st Div Matchday 26 Recap: Wins for the leaders, Doxa defeats Omonoia, stalemate in Pafos

CYP 1st Div Matchday 26 Recap Wins for the leaders, Doxa defeats Omonoia, stalemate in Pafos  


Date Home Team Score Away Team
24-Feb-18 Ermis 4 - 1 Aris
24-Feb-18 Olymp. Nicosia 2 - 3 APOEL
24-Feb-18 Ethnikos Achnas 1 - 4 Apollon
25-Feb-18 Omonia 1 - 3 Doxa
25-Feb-18 Pafos 1 - 1 AEK Larnakas
25-Feb-18 Alki Oroklini 0 - 4 Nea Salamis
25-Feb-18 AEL Limassol 0 - 1 Anorthosis

AGONAsport's Marios Antoniou and Andreas Mantzas bring you a full recap of Matchday 26 in the Cypriot First Division. Full standings and schedule can be found here. Highlights for each match can be found here.

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The regular season of the 2017-2018 Cypriot championship concluded over the weekend with APOEL leading the race and Apollon following closely behind. Ethnikos Achnas and Aris Limassol were relegated after 25 and 3 years in the First Division respectively. Twelfth placed Olympiakos will fight to avoid returning to second division. 

APOEL finished the regular season in first place after a breathtaking 3:2 victory over Olympiakos at the Makario stadium. APOEL started the game strong and had important attempts on goal as Delatorre and Carlao were denied by Olympiakos’ goalkeeper Hindi. Olympiakos created their first effort at the half hour mark with Perez blocking Tribeau’s strike. Three minutes later, Sallai managed to open the scoring for the defending champions, but Sotiriou leveled things up four minutes into the second half. Hindi again stopped shots from Soouza and Nsue, before Delatorre put APOEL in front once again in the 78th minute. Olympiakos, however went on the offensive and equalised with Torres’ spectacular bicycle kick goal in second half stoppage time. Despite the late shock for APOEL, with seconds remaining, Nicholas Ioannou saved the day for the Galazokitrinoi to give his side the late 3:2 victory. APOEL will go into the championship playoff group with a two point lead over Apollon, with the first game set to take place against their eternal enemies, Omonoia. Olympiakos will battle to avoid relegation as they start last in the relegation group, three points short of Alki. 

A quarter of a century presence in the First Division officially came to an end for Ethnikos Achnas as they fell 4:1 at home against title contenders Apollon Limassol. Schembri opened the scoring for Apollon in the 9th minute after heading Da Silva’s beautiful ball into the corner of Bogatinov’s net. Sardinero doubled the visitors lead in the 33rd minute, before Michalis Charalambous added his name to the score sheet for Ethnikos’ last goal of the season bringing the match at 1:2. Zelaya netted against his previous side as he converted from the penalty spot to restore Apollon’s two goal lead before half time. In a slow paced second half, Markovic formed the final scoreline in stoppage time as Apollon go into the playoffs trailing leaders APOEL by two points. The Cypriot Cup holders will start their efforts to dethrone APOEL against local rivals AEL.  

Ermis downed already relegated Aris 1:4 in Larnaca to finish the regular season in 8th, 10 points clear of 12th placed Olympiakos. Radu and Monteiro sent the hosts into the break with a two goal lead as Kyprianou and Konstantinou added their names to the score sheet in the second half. Ionita netted a late consolation goal for the hosts, who will play next season in the second division after a three year presence in the top flight. Aris finished in 13th place with just 16 points compared to the 24 they had last year. 

Alki Oroklini hosted Nea Salamina in Larnaca with the visitors coming away with an emphatic 0:4 victory. With some early pressure, Salamina worked a series of passes finished off by Carlao, who beat a helpless Urko Pardo to open the scoring in the 32nd minute. Seven minutes later, a good through ball was slotted past Pardo by Thiago to double Salamina’s advantage. Alki would get a chance to pull one back, but Ruca’s long strike produced a nice save from Robert Veselovsky. Otherwise, it was all Salamina, who would go on to get more goals from Charles Eloundou and Joel Damahou for an easy 4:0 win. With the win, Salamina leapfrogg Alki into 10th, knocking Alki down to 11th to finish the regular season.

A shorthanded Omonoia side hosted Doxa Katokopias at the GSP Stadium. 18 year old Alexandros Antoniou (the sixth goalkeeper to play for Omonoia this season) made his debut in goal for the hosts. Both clubs traded chances in the first half, but neither goal was severely threatened until stoppage time, when Doxa drew first blood through Rahavi Kifoueti, whose header beat Antoniou. Omonoia would make two halftime substitutions, but Doxa would extend their lead through Berat Sadik who latched onto a ball, and on the run, beat Antoniou low to the near post. Omonoia seemed to have new life when Doxa’s Marios Poutziouris was sent off for a second yellow card offense as the hosts ratcheted up the pressure and Andreas Katsantonis scored to cut Doxa’s lead in half. Omonoia nearly drew level as a rebound was parried by Evagoras Hadjifrangkiskou directly into the path of Kanu, but Kanu missed the net to preserve the Doxa lead. Despite substantial pressure from Omonoia, they never did beat Hadjifrangkiskou again, and a late backbreaker from Vasilis Papafotis sealed a surprise 3:1 win for Doxa. Omonoia finish the regular season in 6th while claim one place behind Doxa in 7th.

In Paphos, Pafos FC and AEK Larnaca played to a 1:1 draw. The home side seemed to have had it won when Kevin Berigaud broke the deadlock, but in the game’s dying moments, Jorge Larena’s strike would salvage a draw for AEK. Pafos finish the regular season in 9th place, AEK finished 4th and will compete in the championships playoff group.

Anorthosis defeated AEL in the weekend derby. Match report can be found here

by: Marios Antoniou & Andreas Mantzas
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