Football: Wales anxious to profit in Cyprus

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The Independent Online
WALES have discovered a supporter on this holiday island who has some reason to look kindly on their World Cup challenge in Limassol; he earned his coaching qualification under Welsh tuition while the people of the principality helped provide the profits for his family-run business.

At the Tsirion Stadium tonight, however, the 'pupil' Andreas Michaelides will be looking to master his masters. As the coach of Cyprus he is plotting a win, an upset, that he believes would put paid to Welsh dreams of reaching the 1994 finals in America.

Cyprus are the underdogs but under Michaelides they have won their last three games, some going for a nation that before the victory against the Faroes in June - their first ever success on foreign soil - had not won anywhere for 19 years.

'I think we can win and the players think so too,' he said. 'I have a lot of good feelings towards the Welsh. I like to see them do well and I hope they qualify. But if we beat them that's it.'

Michaelides, whose firm exports wine and spirits to Britain, can count on the passionate support of a volatile crowd that he says can prove an intimidatory factor.

'I hope they put Wales under pressure. Our people can be very hot-tempered and create quite an atmosphere but they must behave within the laws.'

They do not always. In 1989, at the end of a World Cup tie that Scotland only won in the 10 minutes of time added on, the referee and linesmen were locked in their dressing room for their own safety after supporters rioted. Last month on the opening day of the Cyprus league a referee was attacked and beaten up, provoking a strike by all officials.

Having learned a harsh lesson from tactical tinkering in Romania, Terry Yorath, the Welsh manager, has no injury worries and yesterday named the same side that put six goals past the Faroes in Cardiff last month.

'Cyprus are the big obstacle to the four main contenders,' Yorath said. 'They can put a spanner in the works by taking something off their opponents and we have to make sure it's not us.'

CYPRUS (from): Christofi (Apollon Limassol); Costa (Apoel Nicosia), Kalotheou (Omonia Nicosia), Constantanou (Omonia), Pittas (Apollon), D Ioannou (Apollon), Panayi (Anorthosis), Yiangoudakis (Apollon), Charalambous (Apollon), Larkou (Pezoporikos Larnaca), Nicolaou (Pezoporikos), Savvides (Omonia), Y Ioannou (Apoel), Hadjilucas (Apoel), Sotiriou (Apoel), Andreou (NEA Salamina), Papavasiliou (OFI Crete).

WALES: Southall (Everton); Phillips (Norwich), Bowen (Norwich), Simons (Portsmouth), Young (Crystal Palace), Blackmore (Manchester United), Horne (Everton), Saunders (Aston Villa), Rush (Liverpool), Hughes (Manchester United) Speed (Leeds).

Referee: L Vagner (Hungary).