By Warren Rappleyea Staff Writer Despite an array of injuries, which included losing six of the team’s top seven scorers over a four-game span, the Middletown High School North ice hockey team is 13-4-1 and sitting atop the Shore Conference’s B Division. Coach Joe Campisano’s defense-first philosophy has taken hold as the Lions have racked up seven shutouts, four of them during a 10-game winning streak. Middletown North is coming off a 6-4 win over Point Pleasant Boro on Sunday. Third-period goals by George Noble and Joel Nevarez gave the Lions the victory. A year ago Campisano, the former coach at Monmouth University, took over the Middletown North program four games into the campaign and led the Lions to the NJSIAA Southern White Division championship. Now with a full year in the program, the players are more familiar with Campisano’s style and it has helped overcome the loss of seven players to injuries. “We’re all about defense and positioning,” he said. “That means everyone has to understand their roles and be focused on what they’re doing. The object of our game is to not make mistakes and to capitalize when the other team does.” The Lions use four lines offensively and, as a result, have been particularly strong in the third period. Senior John Perrotta, who has missed time with a fractured kneecap, is the team’s leading scorer with 17 points. Nevarez, a junior forward who has suffered a series of nagging injuries and has been the “ultimate captain” according to his coach, has still managed to score several big goals, Campisano noted. Junior Mike Flynn, who rounds out the top line, is suffering from a shoulder compression. In the meantime, Middletown North’s all-sophomore fourth line, Noble, Mike Foley and Brian Wrensen, has played so well that Campisano has opted to give them even more playing time. Defensively, Mike Artale and Luke Nesbihal have been solid in goal. “Mike has played tremendously this year,” Campisano said. “He had seven shutouts during that 10-game winning streak, and obviously was a major reason we’ve been so successful.” The blue line corps led by Jim Hall, Mike Brown and Brian Buhowski has been strong as well despite injuries. Hall has suffered a separated shoulder, Brown had a neck injury, and Buhowski suffered a broken ankle early in the campaign and returned for the Point Boro game. “I’m very pleased with our play,” Campisano said. “This is a young team, but we have a lot of depth. It’s been kind of like an infirmary around here with all of our walking wounded, yet the guys are still working hard and playing well.” And with only three seniors on this year’s squad, the Lions may be a year away from peaking as a program — a scary thought for the opposition. “We’ve got a great foundation for the next few years,” Campisano said. By Warren RappleyeaStaff Writer
Jersey Bluesfinish secondin Region XIX Jersey Blues finish second in Region XIX BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer PHOTOS BY CHRIS KELLY staff Above, Brookdale’s Jessica Roy heads a ball up field, while at left, Brookdale’s Kathryn Lipman beats out a Gloucester defender for the ball during the Jersey Blues’ win on Friday in Middletown. A return trip to the Region XIX Women’s Soccer Tournament wasn’t a gimme for Brookdale Community College. Yet, while the Jersey Blues (with several new faces) absorbed some early-season losses, coach Frank Lawrence always looked at the bigger picture. “My approach to the season is to get to the point that, when we get to the tournament, we’re ready to play,” said Lawrence. That was a project this year with such a huge turnover from 2002. The Jersey Blues had just two players returning, but that didn’t prevent them from playing for the Region title Sunday in Lincroft. Camden, which shared the Garden State Athletic Conference championship with Brookdale this year, edged the Jersey Blues 3-2, scoring twice in the last 13 minutes of the match to snatch the win away from Brookdale, which had taken a 2-1 lead in the second half on a goal by Kerry O’Mara. It is Camden that will go on to the District Championship game on Saturday, with a trip to the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Division III Tournament Final Four at stake. Camden (12-0-1) is ranked ninth in the country, and Brookdale, 10th. Brookdale put itself in position for another run at the Region XIX title by making steady progress throughout the season. The progress was slower at times than Lawrence would have liked, but in the end, the Blues were a championship team. Brookdale shared the Garden State Athletic Conference title with Camden, with both teams finishing the season with identical 4-0-1 records. The teams played to a 1-1 tie in their only meeting of the conference season. BCC’s overall mark for the season was 10-5-2. “It took a little longer than I initially thought,” said Lawrence. “We weren’t consistent with our play. That’s typical of a young team. “It took a while to find the right people and for the team to learn their new positions,” he added. Everything came together for the Jersey Blues on Oct. 18 in their final Garden State Athletic Conference match of the season, with a 7-0 win over Middlesex. The Blues’ defense held Middlesex without a shot on goal and 11 different Blues scored a point. Middletown North grad O’Mara had two goals for BCC, and Marlboro alumnus Jenna Masiello contributed a goal and an assist as the Jersey Blues clinched the GSAC co-championship. Thing began to turn around for Brookdale when 5-foot-10 Tammy Wood, a freshman from South River, became the starting goalie. “She is very athletic and can come up with the big save,” said Lawrence. “She has solidified the way we play defense and given everyone confidence.” Wood closed out the regular season with four straight shutouts. Sweeper Laura North, another Middletown North grad, and Sayreville’s Jessica Roy have been the mainstays on defense. Roy guards the opposition’s toughest player, while North is the link between offense and defense. “Our defense has been strong,” noted Lawrence. “We’ve started to play better offensively. We’re getting everyone involved and we’re finishing our chances.” Sophomores Maria Lombardi (Freehold Township) and Masiello (Marlboro) have been the cornerstones of the 2003 Blues, not just for their play, which has been outstanding, but their leadership as well. “Maria and Jenna have done a great job,” Lawrence remarked. “They have picked up the scoring, like we needed, and they have done a really, really good job of leadership, keeping the chemistry good.” Lombardi was the leading scorer in the GSAC, with 39 points on 14 goals and 11 assists. Masiello was third with 31 on 11 goals and nine assists. Both are among the top 25 scorers in the country. Midfielders O’Mara and Katie Dooling (Marlboro), and forwards Jessica Zito (St. Rose via Howell) and Tara Driscoll (St. John Vianney) have been making an impact on offense also. “We’re well balanced,” said Lawrence. “A different person is stepping up each game.” In the first round of the Region, the Jersey Blues had it gong offensively beating Gloucester, 7-2. Lombardi and O’Mara each netted two goals. BY TIM MORRISStaff Writer
Winter’s chill is not nearly enough reason to dampen the competitive spirit of the young athletes of Navesink River Rowing (NRR). On Saturday, Feb. 3, the NRR youth rowing program traveled to the Main Line Slide at Villanova University, Villanova, Pa. The Main Line Slide is a regional regatta, designed to keep rowers in competitive form until spring rowing restarts. These indoor rowing events are held on computerized rowing machines – ergometers – which capture each athlete’s 2,000-meter score electronically and rank the participants. “Our junior rowers maintain their conditioning during our winter group workouts on the ergs,” said NRR coach Bill Scholtz. “They also have training regimens to follow at home, and I monitor their progress by e-mail. Attending these erg competitions adds some excitement to the winter months. It certainly helps pass the time until our boats can get back on the Navesink River.” Notching the top finish for NRR at the Main Line Slide was Emily Crosby, a senior at Red Bank Catholic. Crosby posted a 2,000-meter time of 7:36.8, which garnered her a sixth-place finish in a field of 83 junior women. Also finishing strong was Kathryn Lowry, a junior at the Ranney School, whose 7:46.3 earned a 12th-place finish in the same event. Kate Rennie, also a Ranney School junior, clocked 8:27.3, an excellent result for a first-time indoor rower. Gaining rave reviews at the event was NRR’s Greg Charte, a junior at Shore Regional. Although rowing for less than one year, and a novice at erg events, Charte pulled 6:49.3, to finish 17th in a field of 72 junior men. Another Monmouth County rower, Brian Frake of Christian Brothers Academy, posted 6:59.3 to finish fourth out of 25 in the junior men’s lightweight class. “I’m very proud of the NRR youth results at the Main Line Slide,” coach Scholtz said. “This regatta is a great warm-up for our next big event, the CRASH-B World Indoor Rowing Championships in Boston, later this month. I am confident that our athletes will keep improving in the three weeks prior to our next event. Our NRR youth will continue their championship-level rowing when we return to the river this spring.” Navesink River Rowing is a nonprofit club with a mission to educate residents of Monmouth County and its surrounding areas in all aspects of the sport of rowing. Well over 250 participants in 2006, youth and adult alike, enjoyed learning to row for recreation and/or competition. The youth summer program continues to grow, with 96 teens, from all areas of the county, participating in last summer’s learn-to-row and advanced programs. For more information about Navesink River Rowing, check out their Web site at www.navesinkriverrowing.org.
BY TIM MORRIS Staff Writer They were the fastest all year and they were the swiftest at Saturday’s NJSIAA Indoor Track and Field Meet of Champions. Long Branch High School’s Miles Shuler- Foster and Red Bank Catholic High School’s Kevin Byrne were the runners everyone was chasing in their respective races at the MOC, and just as they’ve been all year, they were uncatchable. Shuler-Foster had won every championship en route to the MOC, and the Green Wave speedster did not waver in the race— the 55-meter dash — that is a test of nerves as well as speed. His 6.40 was clear of the field as his Shore Conference rival Jihaad Howard from Brick Memorial High School took second (6.51). Shuler-Foster has the fastest time in the state this year at 6.35. Byrne came into the 800-meter final with the best time in the state as well as the fastest 1,000 run in the county this winter. His coach, Rob DeFilippis, pointed out that Byrne could run well from the front or from off the pace, making the task of this year’s challengers all the more difficult. They had no answers for Byrne’s all-around talent in the event as he lowered his state-leading best time to 1:55.10 (No. 12 in the country in 2010). This was the first MOC crown for both runners, who are juniors. RBC’s Molly McNamara was quite impressive herself in finishing second in the girls 800. The Casey junior ran the fastest time of her life, 2:11.82, behind the 2:11.53 of WashingtonTownship’sMeganTiernan. Their times are third and fourth fastest run in the country this year. Tiernan won the Group IV state title while McNamara was the Non-Public A state winner. Monmouth Regional’s Stephanie Skove medaled in the girls pole vault. She cleared 11- 6 to take sixth. Next up for some of the area track and field champions are the two indoor national meets. In New York City there are the National Scholastic Indoor Championship (NSIC) at the New Balance Track and Field Center and the Nike Indoor Nationals at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston. Both championships run March 12-14. Before running in the MOC, RBC’s runners and Shuler-Foster did some noteworthy things at the Eastern States Championship. The meet was held Feb. 23 at the New Balance Track and Field Center. Shuler-Foster cranked out his fastest 55 dash of the season, 6.35, in winning the championship. McNamara anchored the girls to a strong second place in the distance medley relay (12:01.28). This turned out to be the race of the year thus far in the country. Champion Lenape High School (11:58.92) and runner-up RBC turned in the two fastest times of the year. Liana Marzano, Sophia Fil-Saime and Lindsey Bellaran ran the first three legs of the relay for the Caseys. Byrne ran the anchor 1,600 for the Casey boys, who were sixth in the DMR (10:23.60)). Rob Napolitano started it all off for RBC, followed by Rob Devine and Kyle Clonan.
By TIM MORRIS Staff Writer CHRISTIAN BROS. ACADEMY C hristian Brothers Academy (CBA) will unveil its latest cross-country powerhouse on Sept. 28, when the Colts travel to Wappingers Falls, N.Y., for the Bowdoin XC Classic. CBA is the defending champion on the course that also hosts the Nike Cross Nationals Northeast Regional on Nov. 30.The Classic is a steppingstone toward the Nike Cross Nationals on Dec. 7 in Portland, Ore., for the state’s most decorated program.CBA begins the 2013 season ranked No. 1 in New Jersey, and No. 1 or No. 2 in the country in national polls. That’s for a good reason, as the Colts have a lot of firepower.They have seniors Mike McClemens, Fran Bogan and Tom Rooney back, along with sophomore Blaise Ferro, who ran a 9:13 3,200 meters as a freshman, and junior Josh Kruppa as the top five.Kruppa and Ferro helped CBA win the NJSIAA Meet of Champions (MOC) last year, when the Colts rested their top five runners because the Northeast Regional was being held three days later. That MOC title was one of CBA’s most memorable victories.The seniors, of course, have experienced it all during their careers, and they know what is expected and how to run under pressure.Nick Trigani, another promising sophomore who ran in the MOC, looks like he will slide in at the sixth spot.There are host of runners vying for the seventh spot, including Drew Reda, Greg Paugh and Thomas Dengler, who were members of that MOC winning team. Aidan Durney, Brian Dengler and Mike Cassidy will also compete.The Colts are deep even at the junior varsity level. Head coach Tom Heath said he could have as many 15 runners breaking 17:00 at Holmdel Park this fall.There is one question about the 2013 Colts: Who is going to emerge as the leader or leaders?“I’m not quite sure,” Heath said.He pointed out that last year, Jack Boyle and Billy Bragg were the leaders, and it was George Kelly in 2011. Who it will be this season is yet to be determined, but there certainly are candidates among the top five.Heath is anxious to see how his team races at the Bowdoin XC Classic.In the team’s traditional preseason time trials that are held every year on CBA’s home course, Heath said the first was “really, really good” and the second was “just ordinary.”Of course, CBA’s ordinary is better than just about everyone else’s great, but this is a team that would like to win a second national title in the last three years. Mc- Clemens is the lone Colts harrier who was on the 2011 Nike Cross championship team. Heath believes this team could win it all in Portland.“They’re more talented than last year’s team,” he said. “They have to do it.”The Colts were fourth at last year’s Nike Cross Nationals.There is plenty of other cross-country action this weekend. On Sept. 27, some teams are headed for the Battle at Ocean County Park in Lakewood.On Sept. 28, the Six Flags Wild Safari Invitational at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township offers runners the chance to run through the wild safari as the animals look on.Also on Sept. 28, Jamesburg’s Thompson Park is hosting the Central Jersey Shootout, while one of the state’s oldest meets, the Stewart Memorial Invitational in Elizabeth at Warinanco Park, will also be held. MIDDLETOWN NORTH Middletown High School North’s harriers had a triumphant day at the Thompson Park Class Meet on Sept. 21. Both the boys and girls won their respective championships.The scoring was based on the merging of the times run in the sophomore, junior and senior division races. The Lions’ girls won with 77 points.Alexandra Juzwiak (20:10) and Madelyn Marrone (20:12) had the second and third fastest times of the meet. Juzwiak won the senior class race, and Marrone won the junior class race.Arianna Luna (21:14), Haile Calhoune (22:00) and Katelyn Chiaino (22:14) completed the scoring for the Lions in 13-27-32.Even with MOC champion Tom O’Neill sitting this one out, the Lions still won the boys race, edging Colts Neck High School, 75-92. Justin Lippert led Middletown North with the sixth-best time (16:54). Michael Marano (17:10), Michael Sudyka (17:15), Matt Todaro (17:28) and Joseph Cioffi (17:40) were 11-13-19-26.Marano won the junior class race.This win bodes well for the Lions’ boys for the rest of the season.
By Iacovos ConstantinouTHE Limassol derby between leaders AEL and third-placed Apollon stands out in this week’s fixture list that starts with the local derby on Saturday and ends on Monday evening with Nea Salamina’s game against Ermis Aradippou.This will be AEL’s third consecutive game against opposition in the top quarter of the table and a win against their local rivals at the Tsirion Stadium will put them in a commanding position as they will be heading towards the play-off games with a potential four-point lead.However they will be denied the services of their defensive stalwart Edwin Ouon due to suspension and this may prove costly against a team that possesses perhaps the most lethal striker in the league, top scorer Gaston Sangoy of Argentina.Apollon, buoyed by their mid-week cup win over Omonia, know that if they lose, their title hopes will all but disappear as they will trail AEL by nine points. Apollon will also be without one of their key players as midfielder Rashid Hamtani is suspended for this crucial game.Second placed APOEL entertain Doxa Katokopias in a game which the Nicosia team is expected to win. The champions will be at full strength with left back Pipinis returning to action after injury. Doxa, having secured last Wednesday a place in the last four of the Cup for the first time in their history, and sitting comfortably in mid-table, may opt to rest some players.Anorthosis, a team that failed to live up to the pundits’ early expectations as title favourites, will go to the GSZ Stadium to face AEK Larnaca. The Famagusta team, booed off the field in their last game after another abject performance, will hope that AEK will be more concerned with their upcoming Cup quarter-final second leg tie against Ermis rather than their clash.Aris Limassol, hovering just above the automatic relegation zone, will not have an easy task against Omonia. Having been knocked out of the Cup in midweek, the Nicosia giants need a win to stay within range of the positions that can lead to European qualification.Ethnikos Achnas, unbeaten in the last three games, are expected to extend their run when they face AEK Kouklion while Enosis Neon Paralimni know that only three points will do against already relegated Alki if they are to have a chance of climbing out of the relegation zone.On Monday evening Nea Salamina will face Ermis Aradippou with the visiting team eager to maintain their push for a top-three finish.
By Martyn HermanManchester United’s squad have been warned. Slack off in training and new manager Louis van Gaal will be watching you.The 62-year-old Dutchman is leaving nothing to chance as he prepares in painstaking detail for the start of the Premier League season, introducing a range of new innovations.High-definition cameras have been installed at the club’s Carrington training facility, meaning every kick can be monitored by the former Bayern Munich and Barcelona coach charged with restoring the 20-time English champions back to the top after a woeful seventh-placed finish last season.The no-nonsense coach has also insisted on players speaking English at all times during training and has even replaced rectangular tables in the canteen with round ones to encourage conversation amongst his players.New pitches, to replicate the Old Trafford surface, have been put down at Carrington and Van Gaal has prioritised making the squad fitter than it was under former manager David Moyes who was sacked less than a season after taking over from Alex Ferguson.“I think it is a lot more detailed at the training ground now,” United defender Evans told a news conference in Michigan where United will play European champions Real Madrid in front of an expected 109,000 fans on Saturday.“They have spent thousands on it and a few of the lads have seen HD cameras around the pitch.“We have this system at the minute where he can watch us on the pitch.“I think a lot of teams use it but we are looking into it in quite a lot of detail,” Evans added. “He is saying ‘you should be five yards to the right’, we are able to see things that are happening live on the pitch.“That kind of scrutiny is new to every single player.“The case before was that as long as we got the results everything was fine.”United have produced encouraging displays in the States, beating Roma and Inter Milan, and Van Gaal is relishing the chance to evaluate his squad against Madrid.“It’s not a little club that we have to beat and now it’s Real Madrid,” he told the club’s website.“It’s nice to play against such teams and that you can show that you are at least equal.”
By Pritha SarkarIt was sharp, quick and brutal as Novak Djokovic finally dropped the French Open guillotine on Rafa Nadal – ending the most remarkable of Roland Garros reigns in ruthless fashion on Wednesday.The champion, who was rumoured to have red clay pumping through his veins after ruling the Paris slam for nine of the last ten years, tamely surrendered his crown.A double fault ended the most miserable of miserable days for the Spaniard, with Djokovic proving that even players of Nadal’s stature can be turned into mere mortals.The manner of Djokovic’s 7-5 6-3 6-1 execution was impressive enough but unfortunately for the Serb, no one was running out on court to hand him a gleaming trophy for condemning Nadal to only his second defeat at Roland Garros.For this was merely a quarter-final.To get his hands on the Musketeers’ Cup and complete the coveted career grand slam, the world number one will first have to tackle Andy Murray – a 7-6(4) 6-2 5-7 6-1 winner over David Ferrer – and then win the final on Sunday.A match befitting the final of any grand slam stage came two rounds too early due to Nadal’s slide down the rankings.While injuries and appendicitis kept Nadal off court during the second half of 2014, 2015 has not exactly been a stellar year by his own high standards – he arrived in Paris without winning a European claycourt event for the first time in over a decade.Nadal’s woes meant he entered Roland Garros ranked seventh, which set him on the path to a horror 29th birthday date with Djokovic.The traffic-stopping 44th showdown between the two was dubbed ‘The Superbowl on clay’ by John McEnroe but there was nothing ‘super’ about it during the opening exchanges because within a blink of an eye, Djokovic was 4-0 up.As Djokovic unleashed an assortment of lethal backhands, forehands and volleys, McEnroe exclaimed: “Nadal unbelievably has no idea what he’s doing – that spells trouble.”There was trouble with Nadal’s forehand, there was trouble with his usually reliable top spin and there was trouble with his serve.“Novak had me under control most of the time. He was better than me. That’s it, simple,” said the sixth seed after suffering only his second loss in 72 matches in Roland Garros.“I’m gonna fight. I lost in 2009 (to Robin Soderling) and that was not the end. I lost in 2015 and this is not the end,” added Nadal, who produced only three forehand winners during the two hour 27 minute mauling.Even when Nadal came back to level the set at 4-4, his shots seemed to lack the firepower that in the past left countless opponents gasping for air.Djokovic, who had lost six previous French Open tussles against Nadal, stayed cool and collected throughout the contest to notch up his 21st win against his Roland Garros nemesis.“It’s definitely a big win, a match that I will remember for a long time,” said Djokovic.“At the end of the day, he’s human. I understand that people are questioning his game. But if you need a reminder of who he is, you just look at his career stats and grand slams that he won.”Djokovic’s next test will be against a player who also boasts a 15-0 record on red dirt this year.Murray’s triumph over Ferrer ended a miserable day for the Spaniards, who will not feature in the last four here for the first time since 2009.While Djokovic harbours hopes of becoming only the eighth man to win all four majors, Serena Williams showed that she is primed to win a 20th grand slam singles title.After surviving three tough three setters, she subjected poor 2012 finalist Sara Errani to a 6-1 6-3 hammering to prove that it will take a brave woman to deny her a third title in a city she calls her second home.Standing in her way to a final date on Saturday is surprise Swiss semi-finalist Timea Bacsinszky, who toppled little-known Belgian Alison van Uytvanck 6-4 7-5.
By Mike CollettChelsea forgot their Premier League woes and got their Champions League campaign off to a flying start with a 4-0 thrashing of Israeli champions Maccabi Tel Aviv in their opening Group G match at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.Despite Eden Hazard blazing an early penalty high over the bar, Chelsea scored twice in the first half with Willian finding the net with a 30-metre free kick after 15 minutes and Oscar scoring from their second penalty with the last kick of the opening 45 minutes.Diego Costa, who replaced Willian after the Brazilian was injured after 20 minutes, brilliantly volleyed in Chelsea’s third after 58 minutes with Cesc Fabregas finishing off a breakaway for the fourth after 78.Maccabi, back in the competition proper for the first time in 10 years, went close through skipper Eran Zahavi and Nosakhare Igiebor, but Chelsea, 17th in the Premier League with one win from five matches, were never seriously troubled.Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho made six changes to the side beaten 3-1 at Everton on Saturday with captain John Terry among those on the bench, although Fabregas, who has lacked his usual creative inspiration, retained his place and had a hand in the third as well as scoring for the first time since April.The lack of confidence and poor form that has blighted Chelsea’s start to the campaign was apparent when Hazard blazed his penalty over the bar.German referee Felix Zwayer showed leniency to Maccabi’s Serbian keeper Predrag Rajkovic though, only giving him a yellow card for bringing down Willian – and the goalie did not have to move as Hazard fired high and wide.Willian avenged that foul in the 15th minute when his 30-metre free kick bounced once and flew past the slow-moving Rajkovic to give Chelsea a deserved lead.Chelsea dominated but had to wait until the last kick of stoppage time before doubling the lead when Oscar scored from the spot after former Chelsea defender Tal Ben Haim scythed down substitute Diego Costa.Costa volleyed Chelsea’s third on the turn just before the hour mark and Fabregas tapped in a fourth as Chelsea won their opening home Champions League match of the season under Mourinho for the first time, at the fourth attempt
By Iacovos ConstantinouTHE men in black (or green, or mauve, or blue or pink nowadays) were the unsavoury ‘stars’ of the final round of the Cyprus football championship this week before the Christmas break.In all but one of the seven games played, the officials managed to grab the headlines by willfully or not affecting the results with ludicrous decisions.The worrying aspect is that both inexperienced and experienced officials were guilty of such decisions. On the positive side, if one can call it positive, is that the gaffes were not intentionally made to favour a particular team, but merely because that is the standard of Cyprus refereeing.In the game between Paralimni and Ermis the ref disallowed what looked like a perfectly good goal and then minutes from the end awarded a non-existent (the striker who won the penalty managed to trip over his own legs outside the box) penalty to the team he had wronged earlier on in the game.Anorthosis, who so far this season had been accused by other clubs and fans of getting the rub of the green, got the short end of the stick this time.The referee awarded their opponents, Ethnikos, a penalty that even had their own players bewildered – in fact everybody believed that the ref had blown for simulation.The same referee then decided at the end of the 90 minutes to add on a further five for added time but when that was up and he still had some energy to burn, he added an extra three minutes for reasons known only to him.The referee of the Salamina v Ayia Napa game has to sit down and re-read the rules of football.The hawk-eyed official spotted a defender dragging an opponent to the ground in the penalty area with the ball in play elsewhere. A yellow card was brandished to the defender but for some reason no penalty was awarded.In the two big games between APOEL v AEK and AEL v Apollon, legitimate penalty claims were waved away while in the APOEL v AEK match, leg-breaking challenges that should have warranted red cards went completely unpunished.The icing on the cake though must be Omonia’s winning goal against Doxa. In the build-up, the ball had clearly gone out of play by a foot or so but neither the referee nor his assistant spotted it.A clean bill of health from their optician is a must for both if they are to officiate again.Doxa’s hapless coach was red carded for arguing the obvious to the ref but he should know better. He is no Sir Alex Ferguson or Manchester United as Tottenham’s Pedro Mendes will probably testify following an infamous incident in the Premier League back in 2005 (below).