Omonoia end dismal season on high note, AEK edge AEL
CYPRIOT 1st DIV: CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYOFFS (MATCHDAY 13)
|Omonia||1 - 0||Apollon Limassol|
On the final day of the season, Omonoia snapped their 12 game losing streak with a 1:0 over Apollon, while AEK Larnaca earned a 3:2 decision over AEL Limassol.
Omonoia hosted Apollon at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia. If not for APOEL’s dramatic win yesterday, this game would have meant a lot for Apollon, instead the Trifylli desperately wanted to taste victory for the first time in months. Both sides experimented with their starting lineups for this one. Omonoia had the first good chance, but a shot from Matt Derbyshire was turned aside by Apollon’s backup goalkeeper, Tasos Kissas. Dimitris Christofi latched onto a through ball and attempted to chip Kissas, but Kissas got a hand on it and it stayed out. The visitors did get a chance when a series of passes set up Marios Stylianou from close range, but Andreas Christodoulou read the play perfectly, and made an acrobatic save. The visitors started to feel their way into the match after that, a free kick from Sasa Markovic had to be touched over the bar by Christodoulou. Kissas and Christodoulou had all the answers, and the first half ended with no score.
The second half started with a bang, however, as in one motion Derbyshire went sliding to receive a pass, and from outside the box fired off a perfectly placed shot that found the back of the net! The home crowd loved it, and even the visiting Apollon supporters who came from Limassol applauded, as Kissas could only smile and shake his head. Of course much time still remained, and the visitors pressed for the equalizer. Emilio Zelaya had a good chance, but Christodoulou was again up to the task. Omonoia sought to deal the fatal blow, but somehow Kissas was able to stop a double deflection off the boot of Derbyshire. One last chance from Nicolas Martinez flew harmlessly over the Omonoia net, and Omonoia at long last snapped their 12 game losing streak, and end their miserable 2017-2018 campaign on a winning note, and their first win under interim manager Jesper Fredberg. Matt Derbyshire also finishes the season as the leading scorer in Cyprus with 23 goals.
|AEK Larnaca||3 - 2||AEL Limassol|
Meanwhile in Larnaca, AEK Larnaca hosted AEL Limassol. AEL had an early corner, Antonis Giorgallidis made the first save, but the rebound was put home by Fidelis Irhene, and the visitors drew first blood. Then, completely against the run of play, the hosts responded through Christos Tryfonos with a stunning strike from way outside the box into the top corner, leaving no chance for the AEL keeper, Andreas Keravnos. The score remained 1:1 at the half.
In the 55th minute, the hosts took the lead, as a corner was headed past Keravnos by Radovan Pankov, but the visitors had an answer as Dani Benitez swung in a cross that Yiannis Mavrou got his head on, which eluded Giorgallidis and levelled the score at 2:2. However, the hosts had another surprise in store, and Carles Soria snapped the deadlock to give AEK the 3:2 victory.
With the conclusion of the 2017-2018 Cyprus First Division season, APOEL were crowned champions for a 6th straight season with 86 points while Apollon finished in a close second with 82 points. Anorthosis finish third, with 69 points and AEK Larnaca ended one point behind in 4th place. AEL Limassol finish 5th with 58 points as Omonoia finish 6th with 47 points, their worst finish in 60 years.