Cyprus title decider abandoned after firework injures player

Kaka Da Silva from Nicosia's APOEL is treated by paramedics after being injured in the head by a firecracker during their match against Limassol's AEL on May 17, 2014 in the Cypriot city of Limassol

Cyprus's championship title decider between Nicosia's APOEL and AEL Limassol was abandoned Saturday after a Nicosia player was injured by a firework and had to be hospitalised. The referee stopped play in the 52nd minute after APOEL centre back Kaka -- sitting on the substitutes bench -- suffered a "flesh wound" and was rushed to hospital for treatment during a tense winner-takes-all contest in the last game of the season. The contest was 0-0 when the referee decided to pull the teams off the pitch. Fifty minutes later he decided to abandon the match definitively at Limassol's Tsirio stadium. Leaders AEL only needed one point to be sure of their seventh title and a place in the lucrative Champions League. It will now be up to the Cyprus Football Association to decide what happens next, and a ruling is expected in 10 days. The match could be replayed or AEL could be punished with losing the game because their fans were blamed for throwing objects on the pitch. This would give the title to APOEL. Local commentators called the outcome a "black day" for Cypriot football, and the incident will be an embarrassment for the authorities after police reportedly launched the biggest-ever security operation for a national football match. Violence at Cypriot football games is frequent, with hooliganism seen as a real threat to the island's most popular sport. Last season's winner APOEL are Cyprus's most-titled club, having won the league a record 22 times. AEL relinquished their league title to APOEL last season. They have won the league six times. The last time the domestic title race went down to the wire on the final day was during the 2005-2006 season when Apollon Limassol defeated Anorthosis Famagusta 3-1 to clinch the trophy, one point ahead of second place Omonia. Cyprus will have two teams in the Champions League qualifiers next season. APOEL have reached the Champions League twice, in 2009 and 2011. They reached the quarter finals of the Champions League in 2012. AEL suffered a late defeat at the hands of Anderlecht in the Champions League playoffs in 2012. They subsequently dropped into the Europa League group stage.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting