Apollon make statement in derby, Omonoia and Salamina cancel out

Apollon make statement in derby, Omonoia and Salamina cancel out
 

CYPRIOT 1st DIV: CHAMPIONSHIP PLAYOFFS (MATCHDAY 1)

AEL Limassol 0 - 3 Apollon Limassol

Sachetti 22'
Roberge 42',77'

Week 2 of the Cypriot First Division playoffs began with a massive Limassol Derby, and Apollon made a clear statement with a 3:0 win over AEL Limassol. Omonoia and Nea Salamina played to a scoreless draw.

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AEL Limassol were the home team against Apollon at the Tsirion Stadio in Limassol, which of course they share. Apollon had a furious start. A cross from Fotis Papoulis was spilled by the AEL keeper Patryk Procek, and the ball was loose, but nobody could pull the trigger. In the 22nd minute, however, Joao Pedro took a free kick that hit the wall, but Dosa Junior could only clear it as far as Esteban Sacchetti, who hit the ball first time and the bullet beat Procek low to give Apollon the lead. The goal did nothing to slow down the insatiable Apollon attack. Facundo Pereyra had a well placed strike that Procek got just enough of to direct the shot onto the post. Procek made another save on Pereyra, but nonetheless Apollon remained persistent. In the 45th minute, an Apollon corner did the trick as Valentin Roberge got his head on the ball, which went high in the air, then somehow ducked under the bar, and into the top corner past Procek. Apollon had a well-deserved 2:0 lead at the half.

Alex da Silva tried to turn the tide and get AEL back in the match, but he sailed a long strike over the net. Instead, Apollon had their knockout punch in the 78th minute. A free kick from the side found Papoulis. His first shot was blocked in front by Ruben Jurado, but the ball came right back to Papoulis who tried again, only for Jurado to get in the way again, but Roberge pounced and fired the third shot through the maze of yellow shirts and past Procek. Andreas Avraam tried at the end to get AEL on the board, and Bruno Vale finally had to do something, but Vale maintained his focus well enough to make the save. A resounding 3:0 win for Apollon was the final result. It was a very important win for Apollon, too, they now have the league lead, 3 points clear of APOEL. However, APOEL do have a game in hand. AEL remain in 3rd, this severely damages their title hopes.


HIGHLIGHTS: AEL LIMASSOL - APOLLON LIMASSOL


Omonia 0 - 0 Nea Salamina

Omonoia hosted Nea Salamina at the GSP Stadium in Nicosia. Renato Margaca let fly to try to stun his old club, but skied his shot over the net. Thiago had a go, but Tomas Mejias saw it all the way and made the routine save. Omonoia otherwise enjoyed most of the possession, but their crosses were not connecting. Kingsley Onuegbu had plenty of space and time, but misfired on his shot and it was an easy save for Mejias. Finally Omonoia got a chance as Marinos Tzionis had a shot, but Robert Veselovsky stopped it. Neither side could break through in the first half, and it remained scoreless.

Jordi Gomez could have drawn a penalty early in the second half, but while being taken down made a pass that ended up being offside, and the flag kept Salamina out of trouble. Not long after, Gomez had a free kick which hit the post, the rebound came to Ioannis Kousoulos, but Veselovsky was there to deny him. Less than a minute later, Mejias had to be alert to stop Thiago. An Omonoia corner created a chance for Marco Motta, but his strong header was met by an even stronger save by Veselovsky. Thiago went down in the Omonoia box, the call could have gone either way, but ultimately the penalty was not given. On replay, it’s also possible he was slightly outside the box. Then a cross came in for Matt Derbyshire, who headed it low, forcing Veselovsky to sprawl out and make the save. Konstantinos Mintikkis found Thiago in space, but Mejias knocked it aside. Omonoia came the closest yet when Derbyshire finally directed a low cross past Veselovsky, but it hit the bottom of the crossbar and never crossed the line. An opportunity presented itself for Salamina when Loukas Vyntra got tangled up with Thiago. A red card was assessed to Vyntra, and the 3 minutes of stoppage time would see Salamina with a man advantage. However, they couldn’t do anything with it, and the match ended in a 0:0 draw. Salamina remain in 5th place, one point ahead of 6th place Omonoia. Both sides had their chances, and neither could make it count.


HIGHLIGHTS: OMONIA - NEA SALAMINA

 

By Andreas Mantzas

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