Omonoia hold APOEL to snap Nicosia derby losing streak
CYPRIOT 1st DIV: CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYOFFS
|APOEL||1 - 1||Omonia|
|Carlao 8'||Gomez 58'|
Omonoia held APOEL to a 1:1 draw to end a 13-game losing streak in the derby of the eternal enemies.
Omonoia and APOEL, the two biggest clubs in Cyprus and two main clubs of Nicosia, met in Saturday’s Cypriot First Division playoffs. Yes, the Cypriot capital and even the GSP Stadium is fought over by these two clubs. Between the two of them, they’ve produced 47 championships and is regarded as the biggest rivalry in Cyprus by a wide margin. However, in recent years, it has also become a very one-sided rivalry.
Coming into today’s match, APOEL had won 13 in a row against Omonoia, but today that streak ended as Omonoia held them to a 1:1 draw. The last time these teams played to a draw was in November 2015 in a thrilling four goal encounter. Omonoia haven’t beaten APOEL in nearly six years with their last win over APOEL coming in April 2013 with an emphatic 3:0 scoreline. However, today was a different story, as an early goal by Carlao was cancelled out by Jordi Gomez.
The scene was the GSP Stadium in Nicosia, home to both teams, but today the home to APOEL against Omonoia. APOEL were the stronger team out of the gate. Caju had a shot that was blocked off by Ioannis Kousoulos for an APOEL corner. Abdul Ajagun was able to clear the aforementioned corner, but only as far as Antonio Jakolis who dribbled into the box and found Carlao, who directed a shot just past Tomas Mejias. The eighth minute goal gave APOEL the early lead they wanted, although Mejias possibly could have made the save had he reacted sooner.
Omonoia looked to answer quickly. David Ramirez had trouble controlling a bouncing ball, but when he did, he made a drop pass to Charis Mavrias whose shot buzzed the crossbar and hit the top of the net. Then Mavrias released Ramirez in the box, but Ramirez’s aim failed him and he missed the far post. APOEL tried to double their lead just before the half, and Ghayas Zahid found Roman Bezjak, and he didn’t miss by much either. APOEL settled for a 1:0 halftime advantage.
APOEL were determined to put Omonoia away, Leo Natel blazed down the wing, the finish wasn’t the greatest, and Mejias was handcuffed, but got just enough of it to make the save. Then Natel tried to set up a shot for Zahid, but he missed the net. Omonoia were able to counter, and Christian Manrique found Alex Soares, who laid off for Jordi Gomez, who shot from distance and it eluded Rafael Romo to level the match. Gomez had everything back to square one in the 58th minute.
APOEL are accustomed to beating Omonoia, and figured they had time to get a winner, but they had trouble hitting the target. They came very close when Jakolis had a free kick from a great position, but he rang it off the crossbar. The next to come knocking was Musa Al-Taamari from in close, but Mejias came out to make a strong save. Another free kick for Jakolis in stoppage time hit the wall, and the stalemate was confirmed.
APOEL and Omonoia played to a 1:1 draw. APOEL remain in first place, and actually increased their lead over Apollon to two points, but they dropped points to Omonoia for the first time since 2015. This was a good result for Omonoia and they improved to fifth place.
APOEL (Paolo Tramezzani): 1. Rafael Romo(GK), 50. Carlao(‘74 Mickael Facchinetti), 30. Giorgos Merkis, 29. Praxitelis Vouros, 3. Caju, 70. Antonio Jakolis, 26. Nuno Morais(Captain), 8. Lucas Souza, 17. Ghayas Zahid(‘57 Musa Al-Taamari), 37. Leo Natel(‘89 Andre Vidigal), 89. Roman Bezjak
OMONOIA (Yiannis Anastasiou): 25. Tomas Mejias(GK), 7. Marco Motta, 31. Ioannis Kousoulos, 26. Loukas Vyntra(Captain), 3. Christian Manrique(‘91 Mickael Gaffoor), 8. Alex Soares, 16. Jordi Gomez, 20. Abdul Ajagun, 9. Dimitris Kolovos(‘70 Marinos Tzionis), 35. Charis Mavrias(‘81 Matt Derbyshire), 24. David Ramirez
HIGHLIGHTS: APOEL - OMONIA