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Efrem powers Cyprus to Andorra triumph

Cyprus 5-0 Andorra
George Efrem became his nation's first international hat-trick scorer as Cyprus matched their record margin of victory in Group B.

Highlights: Cyprus v Andorra

Cyprus secure first home win since beating Iceland 1-0 in 2012
Matches previous biggest Cyprus win – 5-0 v Andorra in 2000
George Efrem becomes first player to score hat-trick for Cyprus
Debuts for Cyprus's Georgios Kolokoudias and Kostas Laifis
Next games: Belgium v Cyprus, Andorra v Bosnia and Herzegovina (28 March)

A memorable George Efrem hat-trick between goals from Giorgos Merkis and Dimitris Christofi kept alive Cyprus's hopes of making it from Group B to the finals of UEFA EURO 2016.

Efrem, Stathis Aloneftis and Christofi shone from the off, and the breakthrough came from a set piece, Apollon Limassol FC defender Merkis rising above the Andorran defence to meet Efrem's inswinging corner and head the hosts in front.

Provider turned scorer on the half-hour as Efrem, who had never previously scored for Cyprus, produced a simple tap-in from Nestor Mytidis's ball from the right. The lively Efrem added his second of the night 11 minutes later as he latched onto Christofi's good run and cross, dummied his marker and fired into the corner of Ferran Pol's net.

Andorra were put under sustained pressure but almost scored an unlikely goal just before the interval, Ivan Lorenzo's lob over Antonis Giorgallides just clearing the bar.

However, there was further indication that it was not to be their night when captain Ildefons Lima, scorer of both of their Group B goals, hobbled off on 49 minutes, before Efrem became the first player to score a treble for Cyprus, the APOEL FC winger rifling in the rebound after Pol could only parry Christofi's effort.

Cyprus kept up the tempo and added their fifth three minutes from time when Christofi coolly tucked away a penalty after substitute Georgios Kolokoudias was tripped in the area by Lorenzo. With that goal, Cyprus matched their biggest ever international win, which came against the same opponents back in 2000.