THE Cyprus championship is set for its big kick-off on Saturday, with all the main contenders gunning for champions APOEL, including both Anorthosis and Omonia who go head to head in a tasty opening match of the season this evening.

“It is the start of the new season and we hope that we will win the championship this year which is what we all want,” said Omonia coach Toni Saveski.

“Regardless of the problems we have had, we are still Omonia and we have to try to fulfi ll our goals. I hope and pray that we will have a successful season but everyone needs to be patient and stand firmly behind the club they love,” added Savevski whose side finished last season in third place, two points behind today’s opponents Anorthosis.

After being eliminated from Europe in the second qualifying round of the Europa League, Anorthosis appointed Portuguese coach Jorge Costa, who led AEL Limassol last season, hoping that he can bring the necessary change to the club.

In his first match in charge, Costa’s men ironically lost to his previous team 2-1 in what was a friendly encounter.

“Our first match is against Anorthosis. They have their own problems, but they are still Anorthosis. We are ready and I believe that we have what it takes to start this campaign on a positive note,” Saveski concluded.

The match between Anorthosis and Omonia at the Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium in Larnaca is set to kick-off at 7pm, while an hour later newly promoted AEK Kouklion host AEK Larnaca.

On Sunday afternoon at 6pm, Alki host Aris Limassol who are another side promoted from the second division, while at the same time Doxa Katokopia face Nea Salamina.

Alki will start the season with a six-point deduction, while Nea Salamina and Enosis Neon Paralimni will have to recover from -3 points down, due to a punishment for not meeting financial criteria by the Cyprus Football Federation.

Champions two seasons ago, AEL have high hopes for the upcoming season under Angolan coach Lito Vidigal who signed a contract with the club earlier this summer.

Vidigal significantly strengthened the squad over the last few months and his latest signing is Dutch striker Fouad Idabdelhay who played last season for FC Dordrecht.

In the first round, AEL meet Ethnikos Achnas at the Dasaki Stadium with the kick-off set for 7pm on Sunday evening.

Ethnikos coach Nikos Kolompourdas probably has the smallest squad in the entire league at his disposal, but there is still some time left before the transfer window closes.

Both APOEL and Apollon will play their first round matches on Monday evening with the champions, who won the title by five points last season, hosting Enosis Neon Paralimni while Apollon take on newly-promoted side Ermis Aradippou at the Tsirion Stadium in Limassol.

Ivan Jovanovic, who led APOEL to four league titles, a Cup and a fairytale quarter-final appearance in the Champions League, stepped down as head coach earlier this summer after agreeing terms with United Arab Emirates side Al Nasr and has been replaced by Portuguese

Paulo Sergio Last season, AEP Paphos and Ayia Napa were relegated at the end of the regularseason, and they were joined by Olympiakos Nicosia who went down after finishing bottom of the playoff relegation group.

Cyprus Mail

Leave a Reply