Cypriot Europa League hopefuls Apollon Limassol, AEK Larnaca and AEL all put one foot in the third qualifying round of the Europa League on Thursday after clinching important wins in their first leg, second qualifying round ties.
Sofronis Avgoustis’s Apollon will travel to Moldova for their second leg clash against Zaria with a comfortable 3-0 aggregate lead following a first half blitz at the AEK Arena in which Andre Schembri, Alex da Silva (penalty) and Joao Pedro all scored early on.
The Limassol club took their foot off the gas in the second half despite missing further chances to increase their lead.
AEK and AEL had been away in their first leg ties – against Cork City and Progres – respectively and both clinched important 1-0 victories.
Imanol Idiakez’s AEK fought out a tough contest against Irish opponents Cork with Truyols scoring the winner from a corner midway through the second half.
Bruno Baltazar’s AEL missed a host of chances before Mikuel Arruabarrena finally bundled home the winner to give the Limassol club a crucial 1-0 aggregate lead against the Luxembourg club that had stunned Rangers in the previous round.
Earlier this week, APOEL had claimed an unconvincing 1-0 win over Luxembourg’s Dudelange in their first leg, second round tie in the Champions League.