Cypriot champions APOEL trimmed the gap on leaders AEK Larnaca to just two points on Monday night after beating Ethnikos Achnas 2-0 in what was an unconvincing performance.
Two second half goals from Pieros Sotiriou settled nerves at the GSP Stadium following a poor showing from Thomas Christiansen’s charges – who appeared to be still hung over from their recent 3-1 defeat to Young Boys in the Europa League on Thursday.
Christiansen made a few change to the side that lost in Switzerland last week with Stathis Aloneftis coming in for George Efrem, Nektarios Alexandrou replacing Roberto Lago, Costakis Artymatas replacing Nuno Morais and Urko Pardo in goal instead of Boy Waterman.
The changes almost proved too costly as Nika Kacharava gave centre-backs Giorgos Merkis and Inaki Astiz a torrid time and was unfortunate not to break the deadlock.
Sotiriou eventually opened the scoring on 56 minutes after some poor marking by the Ethnikos defenders before the same player doubled the lead after latching onto Aloneftis’ cross 15 minutes before the end.
APOEL will next take on AEK Larnaca in the big game at the AEK Arena on Saturday.