UPDATE: Spurs double downs AEL, as Omonia and Apollon draw

first_imgBy Andreas VouAEL held a shock lead over Tottenham Hotspur for exactly an hour on Thursday night before two goals in just seven minutes crushed their Europa League hopes as they lost 1-2 in Larnaca. Meanwhile, Omonia earned a more than impressive 2-2 draw away to Dynamo Moscow, while Apollon drew 1-1 against Lokomotiv in Nicosia.Few gave AEL any hope going into their match against Spurs but Ivaylo Petev’s men were the ones who took the lead over the Premier League side. Spanish striker Adrian Sardinero scored his first goal since joining the club, running beyond the Spurs defence before slotting the ball past Hugo Lloris.Despite being heavy favourites, Spurs were far from their best and failed to create any significant chances. AEL more than held their own against Mauricio Pochettino’s side and deserved their goal advantage.The turning came on 71 minutes as Erik Lamela replaced half-Cypriot Andros Townsend. Within just seven minutes of entering the field, the Argentine made assists for Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane to turn the game on its head and end AEL’s realistic hopes of progression to the group stages.Omonia, who started their European campaign from the second qualifying round, have looked impressive in their previous four matches, and Costas Kaiafas’ team started the play-off in ideal fashion. It took less than two minutes for the Nicosia side to make the breakthrough and earn a crucial away goal through summer recruit Ucha Lobjanidze.Former Queens Park Rangers defender Christopher Samba was a constant goal threat in the Premier League and the 1.93m centre-back proved why with a header to equalise on 33 minutes. Samba’s goal was the first that Omonia had conceded in Europe this season.Another new recruit, Gaossou Fofana, shocked the home crowd once again as he put Omonia 1-2 up on the hour-mark with an unstoppable left-footed shot after capitalising on a mistake from William Vainqueur.Just three minutes after Dynamo’s Alexander Kokorin was shown a second yellow card for diving,  Alexander Buttner, signed from Manchester United this summer, levelled the tie after an excellent run and a powerful shot into the right-hand corner of the net from which Jose Moreira could hardly do anything about.A draw and two away goals puts Omonia in an excellent position to progress to the group stages of the European competition for the first time in the club’s history.In Nicosia, Apollon also took on a side from the Russian capital – the Limassol club failed to get going and it was Lokomotiv who went ahead six minutes before the break through Alan Kasaev.Apollon levelled the game on 79 minutes with an excellently taken finish from Abraham Guie Gneki who dinked the ball over the oncoming goalkeeper.Lokomotiv had players sent off either side of the equalising goal, but the 1-1 scoreline remained, leaving Apollon with a tough task to reverse proceedings next week in Moscow.last_img

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