So who are Shamrock Rovers Europa League opponents Apollon Limassol of Cyprus?Tue, Jul 23 2019
After a dramatic win over Norwegian side SK Brann last time out, Shamrock Rovers welcome Apollon Limassol of Cyprus to Tallaght Stadium on Thursday in the Europa League second qualifying round.
Who are Apollon Limassol?
Formed in 1954, Apollon won their first Cypriot Cup title just over ten years later in 1966, before securing their second just a year later in 1967.
After an unlikely back-to-back cup success, Apollon struggled for trophies for a 20-year spell before German Diethelm Ferner took over the reins of the club in 1990.
While in charge, Ferner won two Cypriot league titles at the club while also securing the club’s third cup in 1992. Since then, Limassol have won a league title in 2006 and five further domestic cup wins since the German’s departure in 1995.
In addition, the club have also won three Cypriot Super Cup’s in 2006, 2016 and 2017 which has copper-fastened a golden period in the club’s recent domestic history.
What European pedigree do Apollon Limassol have?
Gearing up for their 80th European clash, Apollon have plenty of recent European experience to call upon ahead of their second-round clash against the Hoops.
Apollon secured their passage to last season’s Europa League group stages thanks to a stunning away-goals win over Swiss giants Basel.
The result saw Safronis Avgousti’s side face Italian powerhouse Lazio, Europa League finalists Eintracht Frankfurt and one-time Champions League winner Marseille.
Apollon have also faced League of Ireland opposition before in European competition having faced Cork City in the 2006 UEFA Cup.
The Leesiders came out on top in a 2-1 aggregate win over the Cypriots with defender Dan Murray scoring a 74th minute equaliser to send City through after a one-nil win at Turners Cross where Billy Woods scored the winner.
The Cypriots have also drawn against Everton in the Europa League previously at home – however, their finest hour arguably came against Inter Milan in 1993 when they came back from three behind to draw with the Italian giants.
Who to watch out for?
Former Birmingham City defender Emilio Nsue has turned into a real attacking threat for the Cypriots scoring crucial goals. His dynamic play has seen him being transformed into an attacking threat on the wing and up front for the ‘Blue Whites’.
Sasa Markovic is a creative spark to watch out for. He does also in fact have history against Shamrock Rovers having played against the Hoops for Partizan Belgrade in 2011. An attacking midfielder, Markovic is a Serbian under-21 international who has also played for Spanish second division side Cordoba.
Ionnas Pittas is also a major asset on the left-flank for the Cypriots with his trickery and eye for goal proving a real asset for the three-time Cypriot league winners, causing mayhem for their first-round opponents in Lithuanian side Kauno Zalgiris.
Who is their manager?
Sofronis Avgousti is their manager. An eleven-time Cypriot international goalkeeper, Avgousti played against the Republic of Ireland in 2009 for Cyprus as Robbie Keane scored a late 83rd minute winner for the Boys in Green in Nicosia.
Avgousti took over the reins of Apollon in 2016 as caretaker initially before being installed as permanent boss shortly after.
Who will the winners of the tie face?
The winner of the tie between Shamrock Rovers and Apollon Limassol will face Austria Wien in the third qualifying round.