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Under pressure APOEL ready for Viitorul

APOEL face a crunch Champions League in Nicosia against Romanian visitors Viitorul on Wednesday night with the Cypriot club needing to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg.

APOEL – who have been unimpressive during the qualifying campaign and who recently replaced Dutch coach Mario Been with former Greek boss Georgios Donis – will be looking to turn up the heat on Viitorul who are coached and owned by legendary Romanian footballer Gheorghe Hagi.

APOEL officials expect around 14,000 spectators for the second leg.

Donis will be without the injured Mikael Pote and Nicholas Ioannou but welcomes back George Efrem and Carlao – despite the duo not being 100% match fit.

“We have been working hard both in terms of attack and defence. I know half the players here already so I knew the task I had before even stepping onto the plane to arrive back in Cyprus. Our aim is to start the match strongly so we can increase our chances of overturning the defeat from the first leg.”

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Failure to reach the Champions League playoffs would see APOEL drop into the playoffs of the Europa League but the club’s big target is reaching the Champions League groups for a fourth time.

Donis had led APOEL to the group stages of the Champions League in 2014.

Also on Wednesday night, AEL will be seeking to move into the Europa League playoffs as they take on Austria Wien in Larnaca.

The first leg had finished 0-0 in Vienna.

On Thursday, Apollon Limassol will be looking to overturn a 2-1 deficit against Aberdeen in their second leg Europa League qualifier in Larnaca on Thursday.

The Limassol club will be without suspended coach Sofronis Avgoustis.

AEK Larnaca will be in Moldova defending a 2-0 aggregate lead against Dinamo Minsk.

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