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Omonia await Apollon

Omonia will host Apollon Limassol in the weekend’s most anticipated game on Sunday, with both sides desperate to avoid dropping points at such a crucial stage of the title race.

John Carver’s Omonia – who were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw in their Cyprus Coca-Cola Cup Last 16 first leg tie against Ethnikos Achnas midweek – have been on a strong run of form in the league, spearheaded by English striker Matt Derbyshire.

Apollon – who have emerged a rejuvenated side under caretaker manager Sofronis Avgoustis after he took over last month from the axed Pedro Emanuel – have already fired a warning after defeating fellow title rivals AEK Larnaca and AEL in recent games.

The Cyprus Cup holders travel to Nicosia having also rested all week, as they do not play their first leg game against AEZ until next month.

Both Apollon and Omonia are locked in fourth place, six points behind title holders and current league leaders APOEL, with pundits expecting a fiery contest between two sides that met in last season’s Cup final and which saw Apollon emerge as 2-1 winners.

APOEL will be looking to add extra pressure on Omonia and Apollon by beating Doxa Katokopia away in the early kick-off on Saturday. APOEL boss Thomas Christiansen is currently in the market for a new centre-back after Brazilian defender Carlao recently secured his move to Serie A to join Torino.

Second place AEK Larnaca – who rested several players in their hard-fought 2-1 win over Karmiotissa in the first leg of their Cyprus Cup game midweek – host a Nea Salamina side on a good run of form under new boss Staikos Vergetis and with Bulgarian striker Dmitar Makriev in bullish mood.

AEK – on the other hand – have been struggling for goals of late with Brazilian forward Andre Alves going through a dry patch.

Pambos Christodoulou’s AEL are only three points off the summit and will be looking to keep up with the leaders with a victory over struggling Anorthosis Famagusta – whose future and finances continue to remain up in the air since the exit of chairman Christos Poullaides.

Both AEL and Anorthosis picked up 2-0 first leg wins in their Cup games midweek against ASIL and Aris Limassol respectively.

AEL will be without suspended right back Marco Airosa for the game against Anorthosis while fellow defender Valentinos Sielis is also a doubt after he limped out of game in midweek against Aris.

Anorthosis will be without Spanish left winger Jose Rios Reina after he was released by the club, while midfielder Pele is in hospital under observation at the cardiology unit after experiencing chest pains during training in midweek.

In other games this weekend, Ethnikos Achnas – who are enjoying their football at the moment, thanks to the attacking prowess of forwards Emilio Zelaya and Nika Kacharava – will be looking to continue their climb up the standings with a victory away to bottom club Anagennises on Sunday.

Ermis Aradippou will be without a coach following the recent sacking of Nicos Panagiotou when they host Karmiotissa on Sunday, while local Limassol clubs AEZ and Aris will meet in the Monday night kick-off.

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