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APOEL chairman apologises

APOEL Nicosia's chairman Phivos Erotocritou has apologised to thousands of fans who queued for hours to get tickets for the game against Real Madrid, but left empty handed.

The first Cypriot side to ever get through the group stage, APOEL face nine-time winners Real in the quarter-finals on Tuesday in what is the biggest game in their history. But the huge demand for first-leg tickets in the 23,000-capacity GSP Stadium has seen many miss out.

"It is truly shameful what happened, with the hassle we imposed on so many thousands of people with a wrong decision we made," Erotocritou was quoted as saying by the Cyprus Mail.

"I won't try to justify the unjustifiable. We have responsibility, we did not handle this matter with the tickets the way we should have. I truly apologise and say sorry to everyone."

Real are, of course, huge favourites, but APOEL spokesman Panicos Hadjiliasis insisted that his side would try to represent Cyprus with "honour".

"This is the apex of the team's history so far, which also honours Cypriot football," he said. "It's the highest honour to represent Cyprus among the best teams in Europe.

"We have tremendous respect for Real, we'll do what we've done in all previous European matches. We've reached this far in the competition under our own steam and we'll give it our all."

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