Omonia clinched their 14th Cup title on Wednesday night after an early goal by Brazilian striker Andre Alves was enough to down recently-crowned AEL 1-0 in Nicosia.
Alves – a January signing by coach Neophytos Larkou – scored the only goal of the game on 17 minutes after latching onto a pass from Yuval Spungin in the AEL goal. AEL, who surprised many this season by securing their first league title since 1968, saw their problems go from bad to worse 15 minutes later when defender Edwin Ouon was handed a direct red card by German referee Felix Brych after hitting Andreas Avraam. Despite their opponent’s numerical advantage, Pambos Christodoulou’s AEL went close to equalising in the second half first when Chris Dickson couldn’t score when put clean through with only goalkeeper Antonis Giorgallides to beat and then when Edmar struck the post with a powerful shot.
”We are deserved winners of this trophy”, said Omonia’s Christos Karipides. “This is something we wanted to win a lot especially for our fans. I hope this Cup victory will help us for the future because it is something special to defend your trophy.”
His teammate Andreas Avraam, who won his third Cup title in succession, added, “We worked really hard for this victory. I dedicate this triumph to our fans who have been great and have stuck by us through thick and thin. We wanted this trophy more and it showed throughout the game. I never believed that I would ever win three Cup titles in row.”
Omonia finished off their league campaign in third position while APOEL Nicosia – surprise quarterfinalists of this year’s Champions League – finished second.
AEL will represent Cyprus in next season’s Champions League qualifying round while Omonia, APOEL and Anorthosis Famagusta will participate in the Europa League qualifiers.
Text Cyprus Weekly