Victories or Ermis, Salamina, Alki; Olympiacos fall deeper in drop zone
CYPRIOT 1st DIV: RELEGATION PLAYOFFS (MATCHDAY 3)
|Date||Home Team||Score||Apollon Smyrnis|
|17-Mar-18||Alki Oroklini||3 - 0||Pafos|
|18-Mar-18||Ol. Nicosia||0 - 2||Nea Salamina|
|18-Mar-18||Ermis Aradippou||2 - 1||Doxa Katokopias|
AGONAsport’s Andrew Mantzas recaps the action in matchday three of the Cypriot First Division relegation group playoffs. Highlights can be found here.
Alki hosted Pafos in the matchday three opener of the relegation group playoffs with the hosts getting the better of their opponents. It was a balanced start to the game with Dhiakite of Alki and Sikorski of Pafos sending efforts wide of the target. Urko Pardo kept the visitors goalless denying Bruls’ beautiful shot in the 35th minute. Pafos gained some momentum in the following minutes, but it was Alki that opened the scoring with Dhiakite in the 43rd minute to put his side ahead 1:0 at the break.
Alki came into the second half the same way they went into the locker room as Duventru stole the ball in the midfield and provided the assist to Bilal, who doubled his team’s lead with a beautiful finish. The goal disorganized the Pafos players and Alki came close to a third soon after with Fabricio on two occasions, but it was Malfleury who registered Alki’s third of the night in the 61st minute. Pafos accepted their fate and the game played out at a slow pace until the end. With the win, Alki claimed 9th spot ahead of Pafos, who retreated to 11th and remain nine points clear of relegation.
Olympiakos Nicosia hosted Nea Salamina at the Makario Stadio in Nicosia with the visitors coming away with the 0:2 victory. The hosts came out strong knowing their season could potentially be at stake as Marios Pechlivaris’s hard strike was stopped by Mario Kirev, with nobody able to get a touch on the rebound. Then Miguelito sent Chrysovalantis Kapartis on a breakaway, but again Kirev was there to make the save. Despite a good first half, Olympiakos could not find the breakthrough, and the scores remained goalless at the half.
In the second half, Salamina seemed more engaged, and opened their second half chances with Carlao hitting the frame of the goal with a stunning free kick. Carlao came knocking again, and this time hit the back on the net with a strike that Isli Hidi could not get enough of to keep out of the net, and the visitors drew first blood on the hour mark. Olympiakos did not give up and Helder Castro created an effort on goal, but the underpowered shot proved to be a routine save for Kirev. On the final play of the match, Carlao added salt to Olympiakos’ wounds with his second goal of the match, and the hosts came up empty handed as Salamina took home a 2:0 victory. It was a valuable win for Salamina as they improve to 10th, bypassing Pafos FC. The loss could potentially be a fatal blow for Olympiakos as they fade further into 12th spot and now sit 9 points deep into the danger zone.
The leaders of the relegation group, Doxa, fell short on the road against Ermis in Larnaka. The visitors came close to opening the score in the first 15 minutes with Luis Carlos’ effort unable to find the back of the net. In similar fashion, Tsoumou sent the ball over the crossbar just a few minutes later for Ermis’ first big chance of the match. The home side threatened Doxa once again with Martynyuk and Alex Konstantinou, but the teams went into the break goalless.
It was a slow start to the second half for both teams until Ermis’ captain and veteran Greek player, Giannis Taralidis, shook the woodwork with a dynamic free kick in the 70th minute. Alex Konstantinou failed to beat Gremsl five minutes later, but soon after, Emeghara managed to find the breakthrough for Ermis. The celebrations for the hosts were still ongoing but Doxa responded immediately and leveled the game with Sadik. However, Ermis drew last blood with their skipper, Taralidis, finding the target with a stunning free kick in the 80th minute to give his side the 2:1 victory. Doxa still lead the group as Ermis closes in on the leaders in second place, just a point behind.