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Own goal gifts Apollon victory against Zürich

Apollon Limassol FC 3-2 FC Zürich
A late Philippe Koch own goal ruined the visitors' night in Group A after Urs Meier's side had overturned a 2-0 deficit.

Fotis Papoulis after scoring Apollon's first of the night
Fotis Papoulis after scoring Apollon's first of the night ©AFP

• Apollon clinch victory through 87th-minute Philippe Koch own goal
• Fotis Papoulis and Marcos Gullón strikes put Apollon ahead
• Zürich level through Avraham Rikan and Gilles Yapi
• Gullón and Yassine Chikhaoui dismissed in final ten minutes
• Next games: Zürich v Mönchengladbach, Villarreal v Apollon (2 October)

A late Philippe Koch own goal provided ten-man Apollon with a thrilling opening-night victory in UEFA Europa League Group A.

The first four goals in Nicosia were worthy of winning any game, with Apollon taking a 2-0 lead into the break before being pegged back within eight minutes of the restart. However, despite having an extra man, Zürich succumbed at the last as Koch put Jan Rezek's cross past his own goalkeeper with three minutes remaining.

The hosts' ninth-minute opener came from a quickly taken free-kick, Camel Meriem lofting forward and Rezek heading back for Fotis Papoulis to rifle in from the edge of the area. Yassine Chikhaoui hit the post from close range for Zürich soon after, but Apollon extended their lead in the 40th minute, Marcos Gullón firing in a stunning low effort from distance.

Urs Meier's team pulled a goal back within five minutes of the restart, though, as Israeli midfielder Avraham Rikan volleyed in Davide Chiumento's left-wing cross. And they drew level with the best effort of the game, as a brilliant one-touch move culminated in Gilles Yapi finding the space to unleash an unstoppable drive into the top corner.

Gullón was then dismissed for a second yellow card in the 80th minute, meaning the Spaniard will miss out on the chance to feature against Villareal CF – his boyhood club – on matchday two, before Koch's mistake and Chikhaoui's sending-off ruined Zürich's night.

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