Iraklis FC fell foul of their Cypriot jinx again as the Greek side exited the UEFA Cup in the first round against Anorthosis Famagusta FC, the third occasion that they have been upstaged by their neighbours in European competition. The two sides shared ten goals over two matches, but Anorthosis's 3-1 win on the night meant they prevailed on away goals.
Looking to defend the two-goal advantage they had built from their 4-2 win in Thessaloniki, Iraklis paid a heavy price for their policy as Anorthosis opened their account in the tenth minute. Slawomir Majak skipped past an Iraklis defender on the left before dragging the ball back for Temur Ketsbaia to rifle the ball into the top right-hand corner of Konstantinos Chalkias' net.
Iraklis upped their tempo after the early setback, and though Nicos Panagiotou pulled off a brilliant save from Panayotis Gonias in the 18th minute, he was helpless in preventing Ederson Fofonka heading in the equaliser from Gonias's free-kick shortly after the hour.
Anorthosis continued to pose a threat to Chalkias's goal, but better finishing was required from Marios Neophytou and Ketsbaia if they were to make an impression on the scoreboard. That came after the interval when Anorthosis went ahead in the 57th minute through Majak, who was first to react to Neophytou's flick from Christos Velis' free-kick. The Greek side tried to fight back, but Anorthosis defended well with Petros Konnafis and Marvin Brunswijk marshalling a tight Cypriot defence.
The deciding goal came eight minutes from the end and involved two substitutes, with Kyriakos Koursaros beating Marcin Mieciel before laying an inch-perfect pass to Panayotis Xiourouppas and he made no mistake from eight metres. Iraklis still had time to fashion further opportunities as they chased the winning goal in the tie, but their best attempts from Pantelis Kapetanos and Ieroklis Stoltidis were well wide.
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