PARALIMNI – APOEL have the chance to trim the gap on Anorthosis to three points on Monday after the league leaders suffered their first domestic defeat of the season at the hands of Famagusta rivals Nea Salamina on Sunday night.
Ronny Levy’s side currently hold a six point lead above Ivan Jovanovic’s APOEL at the top but the Nicosia club take on Ayia Napa on Monday night in Paralimni and a victory there would put them just three points off the pace.
APOEL will be without six players for the trip to the Tasos Markou Stadium with Aldo Adorno, Stathis Aloneftis, Selim Benachour, Dionysis Chiotis and Marios Elia all missing through injury while summer import Francesco Zuela looks set to leave the club after disappointing since arriving from Ergotelis in July.
The other game on Monday will be between third place AEK and bottom club AEP.
Anorthosis’ late 2-1 defeat at the Ammochostos Stadium is the first in the league this season.
Armend Alimi had given hosts the lead on 62 and although Ricardo Laborde appeared to rescue a point for Anorthosis ten minutes from time, Cypriot under-21 international Nicos Englezou struck a long range free-kick which eluded the Anorthosis defence and goalkeeper Christos Mastrou to gift his side the crucial three points.
Nea Salamina had previously missed an excellent chance to score when Helio Roque stuck the woodwork.
“Where didn’t play well today but that doesn’t mean that when we are not on form we need to be punished further from the mistakes of others”, commented Anorthosis spokesman Alexandros Alexandrou – referring to the match referee Marios Panayi. “We believe that we lost the game from the mistakes of others – mistakes that decided the outcome of the match. And I am referring to the two goals that Salamina scored.”
The defeat was followed by scenes of violence as some fans clashed with police and caused damage to the stadium.
According to police, a group of Anorthosis fans through stones and broke windows while two police officers were later treated for injuries.
In other games on the weekend, a George Efrem brace helped Omonia to a 3-0 win over Doxa while title holders AEL secured an important 3-1 win away to Ethnikos Achnas.
Apollon needed a late from Angelis Charalambous to down Alki 2-1 while Olympiakso Nicosia suffered their second defeat in succession after losing 3-2 at home to Enosis Neon Paralimniou.