Pancyprians welcome NY Greeks at St. John's for last year's final rematch

By Ralph 'Onz' Chery

Gameshot of NY Pancyprian Freedoms' game versus NY Greek Americans last season. Picture by Dinos Avlonitis

 

Oct. 7th, 2017

 

NY Pancyprian Freedoms will host NY Greek Americans in the Greek-Cypriot derby on Sunday at 4:00 p.m. at St. John’s University Belson Stadium in a rematch of last year’s final, which the Greeks won 2-0.

“The NY Pancyprians are a great team,”  NYGA captain Elliott Firth said in a pre-game interview, “and with them being our rivals it’s a game you have to approach with full focus and provide that little bit extra than most games with added emotions involved.

 

NY Greek Americans players before their game against Cedar Stars Academy on opening weekend; Elliott Frith is wearing number six. Picture by Dinos Avlonitis

 

“To get beat at their home ground and watch us lift the trophy left a bitter taste in the NY Pancyprians’ mouths and I’m sure they will want revenge. We have to remain ultra-focused and ensure we are at our very best to prevent that from happening.”

 

NY Greek Americans players and staff posing for a picture after blanking NY Pancyprian Freedoms 2-0 to win the CSL .

 

NY Greeks is on a 16 league-game unbeaten streak (10 wins-6 ties), which dates back to the second half of last season when they made a late run to the last playoff spot and went on to winning the league.  

Firth is pleased of the team’s undefeated run that pushed them to the title last year and expressed that he and his teammates rolled their non-losing mentality into this season.

“It’s a fantastic achievement,” the Englishman said. “Last season we did the impossible, one of the greatest comebacks in this league's history. That feeling has definitely carried over into this season and we still buzz off that.

“Nobody wants to lose of course, but in this team there is a sense of refusal. We are always confident, but we remain focused, we take each game as an opportunity to build on the week before, and this week is no different.”

Despite the Greeks’ unbeaten streak, NY Pancyprian midfielder Luis Estevez is assured that his side will rack a good result against them.

“They are obviously in great form especially from the tail end of last season,” Estevez said, “we just need to make sure we are focused, and stick to our game plan. The boys are definitely up for this one and I'm confident we can get a positive result.”

The Greeks drew their last game 3-3 with Manhattan Kickers, a match they played without seven of their starters and in which they scored two goals in the last eight minutes to keep their undefeated run alive.  

“To score two in the final eight minutes just shows the fight not to lose stems deeper than the starting 11,” Firth said, “it’s something that is embedded into this club right now and we are together as one."

Despite remaining undefeated, the champions are having a slow start of the season as they sit in seventh place with a 1-0-2 record. 

The Freedoms also have the same record but are at the upper half of the table in fourth place, owning a better goal difference than their opponents.

The Queens-based club won its first league-game of the season last weekend, blanking Central Park Rangers Whites 3-0 at home.

 

Gameshot of NY Pancyprian Freedoms' game versus Central Park Rangers Whites. Picture by Dinos Avlonitis

 

Players to watch

NY Pancyprian Freedoms: Left midfielder Andreas Chronis—Chronis leads the team in scoring in all competitions with three goals.

NY Greek Americans: Playmaker Stephen Roche—Roche also leads his side in scoring but with two goals. The Irishman converted a 90th minute game-tying penalty kick against Cedar Stars Academy in Week 1 and a game-winning PK against Doxa S.C in Week 2.

 

Last meeting

CSL final: NY Pancyprian Freedoms 0-2 NY Greek Americans at St. John’s University Belson Stadium.

 

Key stats

1. NY Greeks’ 2-0 win over the Freedoms in last year's final was their first victory against their rivals in eight games.

2. The Freedoms are the second best offensive team in the first division, scoring 2.6 goals per game.

3. The Greeks have the longest unbeaten domestic run in the top-flight: 16 games (10 wins-6 ties).

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