APOEL FC have clinched the Cypriot league title for the 19th time after title rivals AC Omonia were defeated 2-1 by Olympiakos Nicosia FC.
APOEL were 3-0 winners against Ayia Napa FC on Saturday, with Portuguese midfielder Hélio Pinto scoring twice and Esteban Solari also on target. The win gave them a ten point lead over Omonia and meant defeat for their closest challengers would hand the title to the Nicosia club - and so it transpired.
Omonia midfielder Vlatko Grozdanovski's dismissal early in the second half proved the turning point and Emerson Panigutti (62) soon put Olympiakos ahead. The visitors levelled nine minutes later through a George Vakouftsis header but the home team, who are battling against relegation, made their numerical advantage count with a fine finish from Sladjan Spasić ending their opponents' hopes of claiming a 20th title triumph.
Instead they remain on 19, level with APOEL who have won 18 of their 23 games, losing once, and will enter the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round next season. Omonia will have to content themselves with a UEFA Cup place, but have early chance for revenge when the sides meet for the second leg of their Cyprus Cup semi-final on 23 April. The tie is poised at 1-1 after the first encounter.
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