Much better, much much better for our young countrymen last night against Serbia. The Cypriot U17 team even took the lead against a much stronger side, arguably even better than the Czech Republic, after pulling out of the hat a performance they can be proud of. Unfortunately in the end of the day, it wasn’t enough.

Despite the rumors, Chrysis Michael, started SIX different players from the previous match. Goalkeeper Panagi got the nod in goal, surprisingly, Evangelou stayed on the bench for Loukaidis to start, Nicolaou played on the left wing giving freedom to Ioannou for a more central role. Skafi, Vasilioy and Hadjilefteri, complete the 6 new entries into the Cypriot starting XI.
Changes were made for Serbia as well, as Maksimovic, Dordevic and Rankovic came back from suspension, and Premovic was preferred to start as a LB. The highlight in this Serbian side, is Striker Cvetkovic, who made 18 appearances with the Senior team of Cukaricki in the Serbian 1st division.

Cyprus’s shape was similar to last game’s, with a defensive minded 5-2-3, and on build up 4-1-2-3 with Charalambous being closer to the double pivot in midfield of Chrystodoulou and Chatzilefteri. While Serbia, lined-up a 4-3-3 with a clear Defensive Midfielder, and two free roam midfielders who were given the freedom to move into channels and get in the box.

In terms of the match itself, as expected Serbia had the majority of possession and their first good chances were saved by goalkeeper Panagi. Left winger Rankovic caused a lot of problems and Cvetkovic’s physicality created troubles for Cypriot defenders, but the final pass was lacking from Serbia’s game. A big chance came in the 29th minute mark, when after an one-on-one save by Panagi, Cyprus hit the counter and a great ball by Vasiliou found Loukaidis on the back post who sends it just wide. This was Cyprus’s first proper visit of the opposing box and they sent a message.

Minutes later, Maksimovic tripped over himself in the middle of the park giving the ball away to striker Ioannou. With his back turned to the goal, being far away from the box, what shall a good striker do; and that is score from the halfway point after seeing Jovanovic being far away from his 6-yard box. An incredible goal by Ioannou, that was celebrated by the 2000 plus Cypriot fans in the stands of Papadopoulos. Unexpectedly, against the run of play, Cyprus had the lead, and they almost had a second, after a blunder by Jovanovic, Loukaidis was one second away from giving a second moment of joy for the home side, but the defense recovered quick.

At that point, Serbia looked like they could score any moment now, but Hatzilefteri was immense in midfield following every direct move of the Serbian attacking midfielders. A lot of one-twos were played by the visitors but Charalambous and Panagi were ready each time in the Cypriot box to defend. After 45 minutes, Cyprus had the lead and two minutes of added time were added. Unfortunately, the lead did not last until half time, and Rankovic’s cross connected with a beautiful volley by Cvetkovic who levelled it up right on the half-time whistle.

That goal gave the Serbiand the confidence they needed as they started the second half as strong as possible and they managed to get the lead on the 53rd minute, with captain Stojanovic connecting with Cvetkovic’s low ball in the box, to make it 1-2. With the momentum already shifted, 10 minutes later, the ball was set on Kostov’s right foot on the edge of the box, a shot was deflected on defenders and ended up in the right corner of Panagi, putting an end to Cyprus’s hopes.

A positive for the home side, is Evangelou’s entry into the match late on who shined again as there were questions asked on why was he benched to being with. The Omonoia youngster was too rapid and agile for Serbian defenders, but the score remained at 3-1 in favor of the visitors.

Certainly a much better performance by our country men who unfortunately did not get the result they wanted. Group A however got the two teams that qualified into the final 8, as the Czech Republic and Serbia both got 6 points as they will meet on Sunday in order to find out the winner of the group. In terms of our team goes, we face Ukraine on Sunday, with the goal to keep the pride and our flag high, and if possible, get a result against Ukraine.


  1. Czech Republic 6
  2. Serbia 6
  3. Ukraine 0
  4. Cyprus 0