Five star APOEL thrash Apollon to move into second
CYPRIOT 1st DIVISON - MATCHDAY 11
|APOEL||5 - 1||Apollon Limassol|
|Al Taamari 8',68'
APOEL thrashed Apollon 5:1 at the GSP stadium in the highlight fixture in this week’s Cypriot First Division action.
Apollon visited the GSP Stadium in Nicosia to face APOEL coming off a historic win against Lazio just a few nights before on the same field. APOEL were looking for a good result after last week’s bad performance and loss to AEK Larnakas. The game was promising but few predicted the final outcome.
Early on after just five minutes of play, Moussa Al-Taamari rushed into Apollon’s penalty area and he was brought down by Chambos Kyriakou. APOEL skipper, Nuno Morais, took the penalty kick, but Bruno Vale guessed correctly and made the save. However, Al-Taamari came flying in and took the rebound to open the scoring for the defending champions.
Apollon became unraveled by the goal and all their efforts to push forward were comfortably stopped by APOEL. In the 27th minute, it was APOEL that came close to doubling their lead as Al-Taamari gave a perfect ball to Ghayas Zahid but Vale denied him the goal. In the 32nd minute, Apollon came close to an equalizer, Kyriakou took the free kick, the ball found Anton Maglica in a perfect position against Boy Waterman but his finish was not up to par.
In the 41st minute, Al-Taamari received the ball in the heart of Apollon’s defense and passed it to Zahid who was ready to score but Vale in his effort to stop him brought him down. Vale saw his second yellow card of the night (the previous one was given after the first penalty for complaining to the referee) leaving his team with ten men. The red card brought tension between the two teams and that temporarily stopped the game. Former APOEL goalkeeper, Tasos Kissas, came in, but he was unable to stop Morais who found the target this time for the 2:0 APOEL lead.
During stoppage time, Apollon managed to find a goal to get back in the game with Sasa Markovic heading home Facundo Pereyra’s corner kick. However, APOEL had the last word in the first half as Leo Natel rocketed an incredible free kick from long distance, with the ball reaching a speed of 103 kph, leaving no chance to Kissas in goal. An open first half saw APOEL leading 3:1 at halftime.
Apollon came in the second half looking for the goal that would help them get back into the game, however, APOEL defended well to keep their lead intact. In the 57th minute, David Faupala got the ball in the heart of APOEL’s defense but Caju successfully denied his opponent.
Four minutes later, APOEL struck again this time against the run of play. Tomas De Vincenti stole the ball and went on the counterattack providing a perfect assist to Al-Taamari, who scored his second of the night to increase APOEL’s lead to three.
APOEL were not done there and in the 69th minute, Al-Taamari got the ball from Norbert Balogh and with another effort, gave the assist to Emilio Nsue who made it 5:1 in favor of APOEL.
As expensed, the pace of the game slowed down as a comeback looked impossible for Apollon. APOEL almost scored a sixth, when Balogh had an effort which deflected on Apollon’s defenders and was then stopped by Kissas before crossing the goal line.
APOEL recorded an incredible win that moves them into second place, two points behind leaders AEL and a point clear of Apollon (having a game in hand). The Glazokitrinoi performed exceptionally with Al-Taamari in great form after a two week absence due to injury. The Jordanian winger scored two goals, won a penalty and gave an assist along with plenty of efforts and runs on the pitch.
Overall, APOEL put together a great team effort, their best of the season thus far while Apollon looked fatigued after their efforts against Lazio in the midweek. They were unable to take advantage of some chances in critical stages of the game. Vale’s second yellow card affected the team to a great extent making the comeback an impossible task.
The derby concludes the first round of the Cypriot First Division, in a season of surprises and unpredictability keeping the interest in high standards.
HIGHLIGHTS: APOEL - APOLLON LIMASSOL