Omonoia in top form going into the derby with APOEL


Henning Berg’s call for improved performance levels both defensively and in the final third were answered in victories over Ethninkos (2-1), Cypriot cup holders AEL Limassol (1-0) and Enosis Paralimniou (1-0).

Omonoia (for now) have variation in the way they attack opponents and score goals. Their opener against Ethnikos came from a swift counter attack where Thiago’s assist from the left was finished by Matt Derbyshire, whilst the second involved some fantastic interplay between Thiago and Ortega; the latter selling a dummy, putting the defender on his backside and allowing Derbyshire to tuck away his second.

Victory over AEL came courtesy of a fortuitous goal from Derbyshire as a free kick from the right hand side deceived everyone apart from “Non. Stop. Matt”, who put the ball away from two yards out. Granted, the ball went in off his standing leg, not the one he used to take a swing at the ball – but he was there at the right place-right time.

Against Enosis Paralimniou we saw Omonoia’s height advantage pay off from set pieces, as Berg’s decision to pack the six yard box with players over 6ft tall led to the opening goal from – yes, you guessed it, Matt Derbyshire – his seventh goal of the season. Thiago wrapped up the points in the opening minute of the second half, heading in from two yards out after Bautheac’s right footed cross was misjudged by the keeper. Incidentally, all Thiago’s goal contributions have stemmed from the Brazilian’s movement from wide left to central areas. Another experiment from Berg that’s working wonders.

One goal conceded in three games show how resolute Omonoia can be defensively although there are still question marks over their ability to cope with sides that are quick on the counter. At times during the Enosis game, Omonoia overcommitted men forward, leaving their defenders in a two vs three situation.

APOEL is Berg’s toughest test and he’ll no doubt be judged by many fans and the press on the result, irrespective of Omonoia’s overall performance. This is the big one. Omonoia’s cup final. Fans are excited again and they demand a win.

Thiago spoke about the derby at full time against Enosis, saying:

“This game is very important for us because Omonoia hasn’t beaten APOEL for many years, so now it’s our time. The new players have the chance to win this game and make history different.”

Thomas Doll’s APOEL sit in third, four points off the top but with three games in hand. However, whilst APOEL have goals in them all over the pitch, they are by no means water tight defensively.

A full week without any football means Omonoia approach the game with a slight advantage given APOEL’s Europa League exploits, and Berg will want to make the most of tired legs, especially in the final 20 minutes of the derby.


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