We managed to speak with Greek/Cyprus sport website reporter Marios Antoniou from AGONAsport.com to talk about Apollon Limassol and preview the game tomorrow night.
So first off Marios can you tell us a bit more about Apollon Limassol? Us Everton fans don’t know much about them.
Apollon Limassol is undeniably one of the most successful Cypriot teams. Their colours are actually same as Everton’s, blue and white. Apollon has a big fanbase in their hometown Limassol, whic is the biggest port of the island and the second largest city of the country. Apollon won the Cypriot Cup for the two last season and they want to challenge APOEL Nicosia, the team that the last five championships. In Apollon they see their participation in the Europa League group stages as an opportunity to gain experience as well as to take advantage of the financial benefits that the teams have in this stage.
In terms of players who Everton fans should keep an eye on from the Apollon team who are they?
Apollon has a very talented offensive line, Maltese international Andre Schembri, Croatian Anton Maglica and the Argentinian Emilio Zelaya. These three can do some serious damage in the opposite defence, especially if they are underestimate by teams that come from stronger championships like Everton. Moreover keep an eye on the Brazilian midfielder Alan who is on loan from Liverpool and is said that he’s a great talent.
What is made of Everton over in that part of Europe?
Needless to say that the Premier League is watched fanatically by the football fans in Cyprus. Moreover the traditional relations between Cyprus and the UK, as well as the thousands of British Cypriots brought a big following for teams such as Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal. Another thing that I have noticed is that teams get following due to their good spells. Liverpool in the 80s, Manchester United in the 90s, Arsenal in the early 2000s, Chelsea in the late 2000s, Manchester City in the last few years. I have met Cypriots that support Everton, however there is not the following like the teams that I have mentioned have. Even though there are not many hardcore Cypriot Everton fans, the football fans appreciate Everton and I am sure will see a nice game in Thursday.
What have Apollon fans or Cypriot media made of Everton so far this season?
Like all the times that a Cypriot team faces a team, that undoubtedly is stronger and comes from a superior league, we want to see a surprise. I think our bigger weapon is that we know much more about Everton than Everton will know about Apollon. Of course there is great respect, we are not foolish, we know the size of the team we are facing. However we would love to see a surprise and the team will sure fight for one. Apollon got a draw against Lyon in Nicosia and they could have gone for the win too. The biggest weapon that Apollon has is being underestimated by Everton.
What do you make of Everton’s squad with players like Rooney, Sigurdsson and Pickford coming in this season?
I think that the team has great potential, of course it is the Premier League the toughest league worldwide. I believe that the place that Everton has right now in the table is not reflecting the team’s quality. I am sure that with a lot of games in front Everton will improve and they have the ability to qualify for the next year’s Europa League.
How do you think Apollon will line up on Thursday?
This is how I see Apollon lining up on the evening
Finally what’s your prediction for the game?
I think that Everton will score at least one or two goals, i will go for a 2-0 or 3-1 for Everton.
We’d like to thank Marios for the talk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MariosSyggenis
you can find his reports on www.agonasport.com