APOEL stormed into the Champions League playoffs on Wednesday night after downing Romanian title holders Viitorul 4-0 in extra time and advance 4-1 on aggregate.
Brazilian centre-back Carlao, who was making his first appearance since returning from his failed spell at Torino, had opened the scoring with a towering header before furthers goals in extra time from Giorgos Merkis, Igor de Camargo and George Efrem – who was also making a first appearance since returning from a lengthy injury – sunk against Gheorghe Hagi’s young side.
APOEL boss Georgios Donis, who returned to the Nicosia club last week after replacing Dutch coach Mario Been, will be looking to guide the Nicosia club into the Champions League group stages for a fourth time.
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Donis had steered APOEL into the Champions League groups back in 2014 where they came up against Barcelona, PSG and Ajax.
APOEL will now await the Champions League draw on Friday and will be seeded. They will face one of Azerbaijan’s Qarabag, Astana of Kazakhstan, Israel’s Hapoel Beer-Sheva, Croatia’s Rijeka or the Czech Republic’s Slavia Prague.
Should APOEL fail to get past the playoffs, then they will automatically be placed into the Europa League group stages.
Last season, APOEL were eliminated from the Champions League playoffs by FC Copenhagen but went on to reach the Last 16 of the Europa League.