Caltex Socceroos striker Apostolos Giannou started the Cypriot First Division in style as AEK Larnaca clinched a 2-0 win at Pafos FC.
The scores were locked after an hour of the season opener at Stelios Kyriakides Stadium but an opportunity opened up for the visitors when Pafos’ Slovenian defender Matija Sirok received a red card.
Giannou’s striker partner Ivan Trichkovski took advantage from the penalty spot to fire the 2018/19 runners up ahead on 61 minutes.
North Macedonia international striker Trichkovski added another spot kick in stoppage time to wrap up the three points for the Guardians.
The positive start will be a welcome result to Spanish head coach Imanol Idiakez, after his side were knocked out of the Europa League Third Qualifying Round by K.A.A. Gent earlier this month.
Langerak taken off in Nagoya Grampus Eight defeat
Mitch Langerak was withdrawn in the 67th minute of Nagoya Grampus Eight’s 2-1 defeat to J-League leaders Tokyo FC in Japan.
The hosts were trailing 2-0 to goals from Brazilian forward Diego and Yojito Takahagi when Langerak reportedly injured his foot while saving an attempt on goal.
The Caltex Socceroos gloveman was replaced by Yohei Takeda. Naomi Maeda grabbed a goal back for Nagoya but the table-toppers held on to extend their lead to seven points from Kashima Antlers.
Goodwin still waiting to get off the mark in Saudi Arabia
Craig Goodwin’s Al-Wehda slipped to back-to-back Saudi Pro League defeats in a 2-1 reverse against Abha FC.
The Knights of Mecca had the better of the first half at King Abdul Aziz Stadium but the home side fell behind when Algeria international Mehdi Tahrat slotted the visitors in front on 31 minutes.
Things were looking up for Mario Cvitanovic’s side when Spain international defender Alberto Botia turned the ball in from Goodwin’s corner to level the scores on 65 minutes.
But a sensational 89th-minute long-range strike from Amman Al-Najar snatched all three points for the newly-promoted outfit to leave the Red Giant empty handed.