Cyprus round-up: All square in Limassol

AEL Limassol and Apollon Limassol FC drew 3-3 in the Cypriot first division at the weekend.

AEL Limassol’s 3-3 draw with Apollon Limassol FC at the Tsirium Athletic Centre was the highlight of Matchday Eight in the Cypriot first division.

Trademark free-kick
Both sides have started the season poorly and were eager to get something out of the Limassol derby, though it was Apollon who hit the ground running when Milenko Spoljaric struck in a trademark free-kick on nine minutes. AEL hit back through Ermogenis Christophi and Alexis Garpozis, from close range.

Substitutes on target
Polish forward Lukasz Sosin equalized on the cusp of half time from the penalty spot and Georgian substitute Levan Mahradze looked to have snatched the three-points on 84 minutes. Apollon’s substitute Kakos Papakyriakou, however, had other ideas as he slammed a powerful drive past goalkeeper Demetris Leoni minutes later to leave the sides with a point each.

APOEL back on track
APOEL Nicosia FC – who take on German side Hertha BSC Berlin in the UEFA Cup second round – got back to winning ways with a comfortable 2-0 away defeat of AEP Paphos FC. Goals from youngster Nektarios Alexandrou and Hungarian forward Barnabas Sztipanovics were enough to keep the side level at the top of the table with rivals Omonia FC.

Rauffmann hat-trick
Omonia, meanwhile, easily defeated relegation strugglers Enosis Neon Paralimni FC 4-0 with German-born Cypriot Rainer Marcos Rauffmann hitting a superb hat-trick and defender Georgos Theodotou collecting the other goal with a precise left-foot drive past goalkeeper Antonis Mertakkas.

Kozlej increases tally
Olympiakos Nicosia FC stayed in touch to their Nicosia rivals with a 6-0 demolition of last-placed Aris Limassol. Slovakian international striker Josef Kozlej also hit a hat-trick to lift his goal tally to six this season with Michalis Christophi grabbing two and Marios Themistocleous getting the other goal.

Another blow
UEFA Cup contenders Anorthosis Famagusta FC, who face Portuguese side Boavista FC in the second round, saw their title campaign take suffer another setback after a 2-0 defeat by Ethnikos Achnas FC at the tiny Dasaki stadium. The Famagusta side have had a stormy last couple of weeks after seeing two of their Polish imports, striker Wojciech Kowalczyk and midfield player Slawomir Majak, walk out on the club because of financial disputes. But there was no sympathy from Yugoslavian substitute Deboijsa Pladenovic, whose strikes on 77 and 86 minutes was enough to hand Anorthosis their second defeat of the season.

First victory