UEFA Europa Leage: FC Zurich Suffer 2-3 Defeat against Apollon Limassol
FC Zurich have lost their first game of the UEFA Europa League group stages 2-3 to Apollon Limassol tonight.
Just 9 minutes into the match, Papoulis scored the 1-0 lead for the home side with a volley after Rezek had headed the ball to him. FC Zurich tried to show an immediate reaction and did indeed get very close to the equalizer, but Yassine Chikhaoui’s shot from close range bounced off the post on 26 minutes.
Just five minutes before the half-time whistle, matters got even worse for the visitors when Gullon’s shot from around 30 meters out beat David Da Costa in the Zurich goal and put Apollon 2-0 up almost out of the blue. This was also the score at half-time.
Apparently, head coach Urs Meier found the right words to encourage his players during the break: a mere five minutes into the second half, Avi Rikan managed to get one back with a volley, and another four minutes later, Gilles Yapi curled the ball into the top-left corner of the net beautifully – a magnificent goal to equalize the score at 2-2. The game seemed to really turn Zurich’s way on 78 minutes when Apollon’s Gullon was shown his second yellow card of the evening and sent off. But unfortunately, the visitors were not able to cash in on their majority on the pitch – even worse: just a few minutes before the final whistle, FC Zurich’s defense was not able to clear the ball from the box and Philippe Koch deflected a cross into his own net; 2-3 for Apollon Limassol.
The game was not over just yet, though, as FC Zurich kept on looking to equalize again. But unluckily, a final attempt by Rossini was cleared off the line in injury time.
FC Zurich will be facing FC Black Stars from Basel in the round of 32 of the Würth Swiss Cup on Sunday afternoon.
Apollon Limassol FC – FC Zürich 3:2 (2:0)
GSP Stadium, Nicosia - 5600 Zuschauer - SR Evans (Wales)
Tore: 9. Papoulis 1:0, 40. Gullon 2:0, 50. Rikan 2:1, 54. Yapi 2:2, 87. Philippe Koch (Eigentor) 3:2
Apollon: Bruno Vale; Stylianou (91. Angeli), Merkis, Joao Paulo, Robert; Gullon, Meriem, Hamdani (67. Thuram); Papoulis, Rezek, Sangoy (78. Lopez)
Zürich: Da Costa; Philippe Koch, Kecojevic, Djimsiti; Rikan, Kukeli, Yapi, Schönbächler (73. Buff); Chiumiento (91. Rossini); Chikhaoui, Chermiti (67. Etoundi)
Bemerkungen: Zürich ohne Gavranovic, Raphael Koch, Sadiku (alle verletzt), Cédric Brunner, Maurice Brunner, Kajevic, Kleiber, Malloth und Oberlin (alle nicht im Aufgebot).
Verwarnungen: 31. Schönbächler (Foul), 32. Gullon (Foul), 44. Chermiti (Foul), 74. Sangoy (Reklamieren), 79. Kukeli (Foul), 82. Chikhaoui (Foul), 92. Bruno Vale (Spielverzögerung)
Platzverweise: 80. Gullon (2. gelbe Karte nach Foul), 90. Chikhaoui (2. gelbe Karte nach Foul)