CYPRUS: Championship title race takes new twist after Uzoho punishment

Cyprus’ first division championship has turned on its head with Apollon Limassol topping the table after awarded three points when the football association reversed a 1-0 defeat to Anorthosis over an ineligible player.

In its judgement the Cyprus FA ruled that Anorthosis’ Nigerian international goalkeeper Francis Uzoho played in the February 2 fixture with an invalid health certificate.

Apollon were awarded the three points (with a 3-0 score) which puts them top of the table with 47 points ahead of reigning champion APOEL on 46 points.

Anorthosis was deducted another six points for the offence which puts them outside the top-six play-off places for a European competition spot.

Uzoho received a one-match ban and fined 1,000 euros.

Anorthosis said on Tuesday it was preparing an appeal against the the decision which comes into effect eight days from when it was published (February 18).

Apollon could cement their place at the top with a crunch game against APOEL on Sunday.

The CFA decision came after the Cyprus Sports Organisation declared the original health card issued to Uzoho as invalid and considered the document “as never having been issued” in the first place.

Cypriot police have arrested, and released, three people in connection with the health card issued to Nigeria’s World Cup goalkeeper Uzoho loaned to Anorthosis from Spain’s Deportivo La Coruna.

Uzoho, 20, found himself caught up in the probe over the alleged falsification of a medical certificate needed to play for his Cypriot club.

The health certificate was allegedly issued while the player was on board a flight to Cyprus.

The case unravelled just 24 hours after Uzoho played a leading role in a 1-0 victory over title contenders Apollon on February 2.

Uzoho, who played a key role for the Super Eagles at the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia, joined Anorthosis on loan from Deportivo on transfer deadline day.

Nigeria’s first-choice keeper moved to Cyprus after an injury-hit campaign and lack of regular football in Spain ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt that kicks off in June.

In October 2017, Uzoho became the youngest foreign goalkeeper to ever play in La Liga and marked his debut with a clean sheet.

Source: The Financial Mirror