APOEL FC secured their 20th Division A title on Saturday, securing the point they needed at champions Anorthosis Famagusta FC.
Ivan Jovanović's men required just a draw from their remaining three games and duly achieved it in Larnaca against an Anorthosis side still recovering from the departure of coach Temuri Ketsbaia. They had to do it the hard way, though, with the hosts taking a 20th-minute lead when Ioannis Skopelitis struck a volley past goalkeeper Dionisis Chiotis from Georgios Tofas's inswinging corner. The home celebrations were short-lived, however, as Polish midfielder Kamil Kosowski crossed for fellow countrymen Marcin Żewłakow (39) to head in and send APOEL's 2,000 travelling supporters into raptures.
Żewłakow then failed to beat Anorthosis goalkeeper Zóltan Nagy when clean through on goal and after the break the hosts piled on the pressure, missing several presentable chances to retake the lead. Despite those efforts, APOEL held firm and, with the title secure, can now turn their attention to overturning a 2-0 deficit in the Cypriot Cup semi-final at home to APOP/Kinyras Peyias FC on 6 May.
Lost for words
"A lot of people worked hard for this title," said Jovanović. "We began the campaign with a different board and it changed halfway through the campaign. The players must be congratulated for keeping their focus and working hard to steer APOEL into first place. I cannot find the words to describe the tremendous effort my players put in to win this title."
Captain Marinos Satsias added: "We are worthy champions because we were the most consistent team throughout the entire campaign. Congratulations go out to everyone. Nobody can deny that we are worthy champions because we won almost all our big games against our title rivals."