Aussies Abroad: Giannou scores in Cyprus Cup thriller

A goal from Caltex Socceroos striker Apostolos Giannou wasn’t enough to help his AEK Larnaca win through to the semi-finals of the Cyprus Cup overnight.

Giannou’s Larnaca drew  3-3 in the second leg of the quarter-final tie against APOEL but were eliminated on the away goals rule after the first leg finished 1-1 in Nicosia.

And there was plenty of drama in the second leg, which started midway through the first-half as Giannou opened the scoring to put his side in the box seat.

The side’s shared a goal each either side of the break to have Larnaca leading 2-1 heading into the final minute before two quickfire goals from the visitors’ Leonardo Natel (pen) and Giorgios Efrem turned the tie on its head.

AEK hit back in the fifth minute of stoppage time but it was too little too late for Giannou’s side.

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Fourth-placed Larnaca will now turn their attention back to the league, where they will meet table-toppers APOEL again on Monday morning (AEST).

Meanwhile, in the AFC Champions League, Andrew Nabbout played the full 90 minutes for Urawa Reds as they started the group stage with a 3-0 win over Buriram United on Wednesday night.

There was also a big win for Matthew Jurman’s Al Ittihad 24 hours earlier, with the Caltex Socceroos defender coming off the bench in the 5-1 win over Al Rayyan.

And Milos Degenek was deployed in midfield for Al Hilal, making more passes than any other player on the pitch in his side’s 1-0 win away at Al Ain.