Anorthosis Famagusta FC's chances of repeating their feat of reaching the UEFA Champions League group stage next season were dealt a huge blow at the weekend as they lost 2-1 to leaders APOEL FC in the big game in Cyprus.
Temuri Ketsbaia's team took the lead against the run of play, Nikolaos Frousos heading home from close range from Lukasz Sosin's ball, but the visitors were level within five minutes, with Polish striker Marcin Żewłakow muscling his way past Traianos Dellas to score. Nuno Morais's stunning first-time strike from Nektarios Alexandrou's cross sealed the win for APOEL.
Ivan Jovanović's side are now seven points clear of third-placed Anorthosis with one game left before the start of the end-of-season play-offs, which will see the top four clubs play each other two more times to decide the title. AC Omonia – who beat AEK Larnaca FC 4-1 elsewhere on Sunday – are two points behind APOEL in second. The title winners will enter the UEFA Champions League second qualifying round while the next two finishers and the Cypriot Cup winners to into UEFA Europa League qualifying.
"We knew how tough this game was and the pressure was really on us," said Ketsbaia. "We are disappointed but we are still in with a chance and we must do what we can in the remaining seven games." Jovanović' added: "This game was like roulette, but although we won a very important match nothing is settled yet. The next series of games which will all be big ones."
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