Omonoia surprise AEL, Salamina shock AEK Larnaca
CYPRIOT 1st DIV: CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYOFFS (MATCHDAY 2)
|Omonia||3 - 1||AEL Limassol|
It was an unexpected turn of events in the Cypriot First Division playoffs. Omonoia earned a courageous 3:1 win at home to AEL Limassol, and not to be outdone, Nea Salamina had their own surprise in store for AEK Larnaca with a 1:0 upset.
Omonoia hosted AEL Limassol at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia. Omonoia were more ready to go at the start. Jordi Gomez took a free kick from the side, which Patryk Procek could only punch as far as Charis Mavrias. Mavrias let fly, and it was a good shot, but Procek recovered to make the save. Abdul Ajagun found David Ramirez, his shot was saved by Procek, but the rebound remained loose and Marinos Tzionis jumped on it and scored. Procek absolutely spilled the rebound on a routine save, and in the 24th minute, Procek’s folly was Tzionis’ gain. This woke AEL up and they started to take over a lot of possession. Marko Adamovic sped down the wing and past the Omonoia defense, had a go, it’s possible that Tomas Mejias got a piece of it, but whether he did or not, the ball hit the inside of the post and stayed out, mercifully for Omonoia. Omonoia hung on to take a 1:0 into the halftime break.
Omonoia regrouped and tried to build on their lead, and had a good opportunity to do just that when Ajagun found himself with nothing but Procek and the net in view. Ajagun was able to dribble around Procek, but before he could finish for an easy goal, Christos Wheeler was able to race back and bump him off the ball. Mavrias was clipped in the box on a call that could have gone either way, but no penalty was given. At the other end, Alex da Silva sped into the Omonoia box and found Wheeler unmarked, and Wheeler roofed a shot past Mejias, and in the 81st minute it was 1:1, it seemed as though Omonoia had blown another lead, a recurring problem this season. Not even two minutes later, however, Tzionis continued to make things happen, he retained possession in the AEL box, shielding the ball until he found Ramirez, who fired a shot through Procek’s arms and into the back of the net, and Omonoia quickly regained the lead. AEL tried to answer as Andreas Avraam crossed in for Andreas Makris, but Mejias did well to break out the acrobatics and deny the strong volley. Instead, Omonoia dealt the knockout punch, a free kick found Matt Derbyshire, who deflected the ball past Procek to make it 3:1 for Omonoia in the last minute of regulation time. Derbyshire has struggled this season. The leading scorer in the league last year, but that was only his second goal of the season, and his first in 6 months. Omonoia earned a big 3:1 win at home to AEL Limassol.
HIGHLIGHTS: OMONIA - AEL LIMASSOL
|Nea Salamina||1 - 0||AEK Larnaca|
Nea Salamina hosted AEK Larnaca at Stadio Ammochostos in Larnaca. Salamina were able to feed off of their fans at the start and carried the play. Thiago passed it to Kingsley Onuegbu, who set up Thiago for the shot, but Tono Ramirez kicked out his left leg and made the save. In the 27th minute, Florian Taulemesse slipped and turned the ball over to Thiago, who played a through ball for Onuegbu, and this time Ramirez couldn’t bail out his defense, a goal for Salamina and Kingsley Onuegbu. AEK tried to get their bearings, Igor Silva had a go from distance that narrowly missed the far post. Just before the half, Silva crossed for Apostolos Giannou, who had trouble controlling the ball, finally took a shot, but Robert Veselovsky made the save. Giannou took too long to shoot and gave Veselovsky time to get across to make the save. As a result, Salamina took their 1:0 lead into halftime.
In the second half, AEK pressed for the equalizer, but kept having trouble in the final moment to threaten Veselovsky. Charles Eloundou nearly buried AEK late with an impressive speedy play, complete with many moves, a little bit of everything except for an accurate shot, he missed the net. Stoppage time was pretty wild in this one. Eloundou let fly on a counterattack, Ramirez made the save, the rebound came to Onuegbu, and Ramirez got that one too, keeping his side in it. AEK started to grow even more desperate and a long ball fell to Onisiforos Roushias who put the shot on goal, and Veselovsky made the save, but only well enough to force an AEK corner. Jorge Larena served it in for Daniel Mojsov, but Mojsov failed to connect, despite being virtually unmarked. Last chance for AEK, Larena played the ball in, it pinballed around until it was on the head of Giannou and just whistled wide. Nea Salamina hung on for a 1:0 win at home to AEK Larnaca.
HIGHLIGHTS: NEA SALAMINA - AEK LARNACA
Standings Update: AEL remain in 3rd losing a chance to make up ground on APOEL and Apollon, who they are 6 and 8 points behind respectively. AEK remain in 4th place, they also lose a chance to gain ground, they are 8 points behind APOEL, and 10 behind Apollon. Salamina remain in 5th place, followed closely by Omonoia who are in 6th place, just a point behind Salamina.