Our football match prediction:
Astana did remarkably well to win the domestic trophy, with the team finishing the season just two points clear of second-placed Kairat. To make things even better for the fans, Stanimir Kolev’s men clinched the Kazakhstan Cup title as well and they are certainly high on confidence ahead of the visit of APOEL. Astana have slim chances of qualifying for the Europa League knockout stages, but a win over APOEL would see them stay in the race for a place in the last 32 of the elite competition. The Cypriotes are sitting in top position in Group B ahead of Thursday’s football match and, no doubt, the visitors will be happy with one point from the game. APOEL are likely to adopt a defence-minded approach against Astana and, taking everything into account, we predict that the two teams are going to share the spoils in their fifth group game.
Highlighted Player (Georgios Efrem):
Born in Limassol, Cyprus on 5 July, 1989 Georgios Efrem played for his hometown club Apollon Limassol during his youth career, but in 2004 he joined Premier League club Arsenal at the age of 15. In 2007 he moved to Rangers, but he didn’t see any game action with the Gers at senior level. The pacey winger, who is capable of playing as an attacking midfielder as well, returned to Cyprus in 2009, signing a deal with Omonia. After scoring 25 goals in 134 league appearances for the club, the 171-cm-tall footballer joined fellow Cypriot outfit APOEL on 6 June, 2014. Efrem made his debut for the club against Helsinki on 30 July, 2014 in the Europa League qualifying match. It has to be noted that he was named the best player of the 2015/2016 Cypriot First Division campaign. The APOEL winger made his Cyprus debut on 3 March, 2010 in a goalless draw with Iceland. Four years later he scored his first ever hat-trick for the Cypriot national team in a 5-0 triumph over Andorra.
Highlighted Team (APOEL Nicosia):
APOEL are a Cypriot football club based in Nicosia. The Thrylos were founded on 8 November, 1926 and they won their first league trophy in 1932, defeating AEL Limassol 4-0 in the final. Over the years APOEL have established themselves as one of the best teams in Cyprus and they won their 25th domestic trophy in 2016. The Thrylos participated in the 2014/2015 Champions League group stages, but they failed to make life difficult for the likes of PSG, Ajax and Barcelona, picking up no more than one point from possible 18. APOEL share a great rivalry with Omonia and the meeting between two teams is well known as the Nicosia derby. A number of foreign footballers played for APOEL and it has to be noted that the likes of Daniel Florea, Dudu Biton, Marcos Tavares, Paul Okon, Dragisa Binic, Nenad Milosavljevic, Paulo Costa, Tiago Gomes, Alexandros Tziolis and Fernando Cavenaghi were all part of the team in the past. The colour of APOEL’s home kits is yellow. v