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Okkas levels late for Cyprus

Saturday, 9 October 2004

By John Leonidou

[1] A late Ionnias Okkas equaliser earned Cyprus a 2-2 draw against the Faroe Islands as both sides secured their first point in FIFA World Cup qualifying Group 4.

Volleyed equaliser

[2] Okkas levelled with eight minutes left, sweeping in a left-wing cross on the volley despite a valiant effort from goalkeeper Jakup Mikkelsen and defender Pól Thorsteinsson to prevent the ball crossing the line. The result meant that both sides remained adrift at the bottom of the section, with Cyprus ahead on goal difference after both sides have played three games each.

Penalty opener

[3] The Faroese began the match in positive fashion but it was Cyprus who took the lead in the 14th minute, Constantinos Charalambides releasing Michalis Konstantinou and the Panathinaikos FC striker burst into the penalty area before being brought down by Mikkelsen. The Cypriot forward made no mistake from the penalty spot, giving the home side the lead somewhat against the run of play.

Quick leveller

[4] However, the home side's advantage was short-lived with the Faroes back on terms within seven minutes. A clever free-kick by Súni Olsen found Claus Beck Jorgensen unmarked and the Coventry City FC player scored with a free header.

Curling second

[5] That equaliser left the home side visibly deflated and they conceded a second a minute before the interval. Some poor defending allowed Jonhard Fredriksberg to pull the ball back for Rógvi Jacobsen and the midfield player showed wonderful composure to curl an exquisite shot into the top corner.

Cypriot frustration

[6] Cyprus emerged with renewed resolve after the break and they looked a more potent proposition with Stavros Georgiou, Konstantinou, Okkas and Charalambides all taking up attacking positions. However, poor finishing and some fine goalkeeping from Mikkelsen kept the Faroes defence intact, until Okkas finally found a way through.

Frantic finish

[7] Cyprus surged forward in search of a winner and pressed the Faroese back in a frantic finale but the visitors held on for a well-earned point. Cyprus play France on Wednesday night, while the Faroese go to the Republic of Ireland.

Rogvi Jacobsen scored the second goal