Winning starts for Omonia and AEK in Europa League

Omonia and AEK Larnaca, earned important first-leg victories in their Europa League opening qualifying round matches on Thursday evening.

The Nicosia team travelled to Armenia to take on FC Banants where they grabbed a vital away goal midway through the second-half with a debut strike from former Blackburn Rovers and Olympiacos forward Matt Derbyshire.

The Englishman’s goal proved the difference between the two sides, and Omonia will now defend their 1-0 lead in Nicosia in seven days’ time.

AEK hosted Folgore FC of San Marino at the Antonis Papadopoulos stadium in Larnaca, where they made light work of their modest opponents.

Ivan Trickovski broke the deadlock on 21 minutes, before Andre Alves doubled the Larnaca side’s lead on the half-hour mark. Moments after the Brazilian’s goal, Trickovski doubled his personal tally to make it 3-0, putting the match and the tie beyond any reasonable doubt.

Both return legs will be played next Thursday, as Omonia host Banants at the GSP Stadium at 7.30pm and AEK kick-off in San Marino at 9.30pm Cyprus time.