Champions League: Apoel Nicosia win over Lyon 'unbelievable'

Apoel's players celebrate their victory against Lyon
Apoel's players celebrate their victory against Lyon

Apoel Nicosia vice-president Theo Kyriakides says the size of his club's achievement in reaching the Champions League quarter-finals should not be under-estimated.

The team reached the last eight by beating Lyon on Wednesday.

Midfielder Gustavo Manduca's ninth-minute goal took the tie to extra time and penalties, which Apoel won 4-3.

Kyriakides told BBC Radio 5 live: "I think we have not realised what we have achieved yet."

It is the first time a Cypriot club has reached that stage and Kyriakides said Nicosia celebrated their progression in style.

"Everyone was driving around for four or five hours after the game," he commented. "It was unbelievable. Everybody was celebrating until the early hours."

The club's European campaign started on 9 June in the qualification rounds. After reaching the group stages, Apoel topped a section which included Zenit St Petersburg, Porto and Shakhtar Donetsk.

Kyriakides praised the team's hard work over the two legs but admitted: "We were quite lucky with the penalties."

The club's attendances are usually under 10,000 and the record transfer fee paid is about £800,000.

Kyriakides said: "We have a budget of around 9m euros. The maximum amount of money we have spent for the last four years was 1.2m euros for three players altogether. Lyon spent more than 140m euros in the last two years on transfers so you can see the extent of our achievement."

Goalscorer Manduca said: "Every team is bigger than us and has more history than us but we'll enjoy the games and we'll continue to dream - why not?"

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