LIMASSOL – Limassol clubs AEL and Apollon have all but booked their places in the semi-finals of the Cyprus Coca-Cola Cup after picking up big wins in their first leg ties on Wednesday night.
Title holders AEL – who were losing finalists in the same competition last season – had an easy evening beating AEP 4-1 away while Apollon defeated Ayia Napa 2-0 in Paralimni.
AEL’s first leg tie away to struggling AEP got off to the perfect start as Orlando Sa fired Jorge Costa’s side ahead on seven minutes. Rui Miguel added a second on 40 minutes but George Sielis restored some hope for the Paphos club with a header just before halftime. Any hopes of an AEP revival were dashed in the second half as Maykon and Monteiro scored in a seven minute spell of pressure for the Limassol club to make the return leg next month a mere formality.
Apollon, who are attempting to break into the top four in the league this season, will also be eyeing their place in the last four after an impressive victory away to Ayia Napa – who are also languishing in the first division’s relegation zone.
Greek midfielder Fotis Papoulis fired Apollon ahead on 19 minutes before Romanian forward Romeo Surdu added a crucial second for the visitors in the second minute of stoppage time.
The only other Cup quarterfinal to be played is between Enosis Neon Paralimniou and AEK. In the previous quarterfinals last week, Omonia stunned league leaders Anorthosis 4-0 in the first leg in Nicosia.
Meanwhile, the league title race will resume with games on Tuesday and Wednesday with this weekend’s fixture schedule moved back due to Sunday’s second round of the Cyprus presidential election.