Cyprus round-up: APOEL see off contenders

Leaders APOEL Nicosia FC remain unbeaten after a 1-0 victory against Anorthosis Famagusta FC.

APOEL Nicosia FC continued their unbeaten defence of the Cypriot first division championship with a 1-0 victory against fellow title contenders Anorthosis Famagusta FC to remain top of the league.

Georgiou on hand
Stavros Georgiou’s 26th-minute header from Konstantinos Charalambides’s well-taken corner secured a tight match for APOEL, for whom captain Kostakkis Malekkos made his comeback after two months out through injury ten minutes from the end.

More joy for Rauffmann
Rainer Rauffmann, the German-born striker who scored his first for the Cypriot national team this week against Malta, continued his celebrations with two late goal for Omonia Nicosia FC as his side beat Dighenis Morphou FC 2-1 to end the weekend still a point behind APOEL. Rauffmann gave Omonia the lead with a penalty three minutes from time and then secured his 15th goal of the season with a header from Zoran Stepjanovic’s cross. Armenian international Artur Voskanyan scored a consolation in the final seconds.

Filipovic the saviour
AEL Limassol FC’s improving form continued to blossom under new manager Yiannis Mantzourakis as they beat Ethnikos Achnas FC 2-1. Brazilian Luciano de Souza put AEL ahead just before half time but Achnas were quick to respond through to Deboijsa Pladenovic. The game looked destined to end in a draw until Croatian substitute Dalibor Filipovic got onto the end of Luciano’s cross to head decisively past Achnas goalkeeper Aleksandar Kocic in injury time.

Paralimni thriller
Enosis Neon Paralimniou FC were reduced to nine men but still held Apollon Limassol FC to a 2-2 draw. Lukasz Sosin gave Apollon the lead on three minutes but Enosis answered 20 minutes later through Cypriot Under-21 international Georgos Nicolaou. Marjan Savu restored Apollon’s advantage seconds before the interval but Georgos Kolanis equalised on 63 minutes. Enosis then had Georgos Karras and Pavlos Tsolakkis sent off in the 65th minute for protesting an offside decision, but they did not go behind again.

Title chasers held
In the other games on the weekend, third-placed Olympiakos Nicosia FC dropped two valuable points as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Nea Salamis FC, while Louis Eleftheriou was twice on target for AEK Larnaca FC as they secured a 2-1 victory over struggling AEP Paphos FC, and Aris Limassol FC picked up their first point of the season, finishing 2-2 against second-bottom Alki Larnaca FC, who scored an added time penalty equaliser through Aki Ioannou.