Omonia Nicosia has added another piece of silverware to their trophy cabinet after lifting their 16th Cyprus Cup beating AEL Limassol 1-0, which needed a late goal to decide the contest.
The Greens lifted the Cup on Wednesday night, achieving back-to-back trophies, after beating the Limassol outfit with an 85’ minute winner by Iranian international Karim Asarinfard.
Omonia was led by coach Sofronis Avgousti, the club’s Cypriot manager in a decade.
The last Cypriot to manage Omonia was Kostas Kaiafas in 2013.
With the teams equal for most of the game’s duration, Avgousti changed the balance when he threw in 38-year-old Cyprus international Fotis Papoulis and Ukrainian Roman Bezus 20 minutes before the end.
The duo rapidly took command of the midfield, creating the chance for Ansarinfard to score the winning goal inside the box.
Papoulis and Bezus made the difference, pushing the Greens to victory.
AEL Limassol also created a couple of good chances, only to be denied by Omonia keeper Fabiano Fereiras.
The Cup win puts a positive spin on a difficult season for the 2021 title champions, as Omonia will finish the league season in sixth place, performing below expectations.
The Cup victory means Omonia will start their European campaign in the second qualifying round of the Europa Conference League.
Each team that makes it to the UEFA Europa Conference League group stage will earn €2.94 mln.
A team winning a group stage fixture in the UEFA Europa Conference League gets €500,000, while a draw means contesting teams earn €166,000 each.
Omonia’s budget is estimated to be more than €8 mln.
Following the game, Greek-born Papoulis, who received a Cypriot passport, announced his retirement.
Papoulis has played in Cyprus since 2012 when he joined Apollon Limassol. He was transferred to Omonia 2020, playing 75 games in three years.
The game was officiated by referee Szymon Marciniak, who oversaw the World Cup final in Qatar between France and Argentina last December.
The Polish referee was assigned to officiate the Champions League Final on 10 June in Istanbul.