Apollon Cyprus champions after 16-year wait

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Apollon Limassol clinched its fifth championship title after defeating Aris Limassol 4-1 to go 6 points clear at the top with one game to play.

The club’s first championship title since 2006 was secured after closest rivals APOEL could only draw 1-1 at home to Anorthosis Famagusta.

As a result, Apollon broadened the gap to 6 points from 4, with just one game to go in the end-of-season playoff phase of the Cyprus football championship.

Apollon grabbed the win with goals from Danilo Spoljaric, captain Chambos Kyriakou, Nicolas Diguini and Ioannis Pittas. Aris had temporarily equalised 1-1 with an own goal by Amine Khamas.

Contesters APOEL just needed to match or better Apollon’s result to keep their challenge alive but could only draw with Anorthosis.

Demetris Christofi had given Anorthosis the lead 20 minutes into the game, following a blunder by keeper Simone Scuffet.

APOEL equalised just three minutes later through Dieumerci Ndongala.

After 16 years, Apollon will kick off next season with a shot at the lucrative Champions League group stage. The team will be starting its campaign in the third preliminary round of the tournament.

Winning a spot in one of the Champions League groups could generate between €15 mln and €20 mln.

Even if the team does not make it to the CL group stage, Apollon FC will be playing in one of UEFA’s tournaments.

Apollon will have a shot at the Europa League playoffs if they fail to qualify in the third preliminary round.

Should they fail again, they will be automatically placed in the group stages of the third European tournament, the newly introduced Europa Conference League.

Apollon was led to the title by coach Alexander Zorniger, 54, who made a name for himself at RB Leipzig, VfB Stuttgart and Sweden’s Brøndby.