APOEL FC coach Giorgos Donis hailed his players' determination after they secured a record-extending 20th Cypriot Cup on Wednesday evening, beating first-time finalists Ermis Aradippou FC 2-0 at Nicosia's GSP Stadium.
Clinical first-half finishes from Argentinian playmaker Tomás De Vincenti (six minutes) and Irish forward Cillian Sheridan (28) were enough to complete an impressive turnaround for APOEL, whose season was listing when Donis arrived in October to replace Paulo Sergio. Ermis never gave up, the surprise packages in Cyprus this season proving they were there on merit, that their fourth-place First Division finish was no fluke. Yet it was APOEL's night.
"We have all been working very hard for months," said former Panathinaikos FC, Blackburn Rovers FC and AEK Athens FC winger Donis. "Congratulations to everybody in the team for claiming this trophy with a good performance. When we are talking about a cup final, you are only ever favourites on paper and we were up against worthy opponents. We were in three competitions this season, playing 55 games, and we were close to our targets in every one of them. That is a huge accomplishment."
APOEL are waiting on the ruling of a Cyprus Football Association (KOP/CFA) tribunal to discover if they have sealed their first double since 1996 after Saturday's league title decider against leaders AEL Limassol FC was abandoned with the score 0-0. If APOEL are awarded the points, they will clinch a record 23rd championship by virtue of a superior head-to-head record.
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