Defending Cyprus Champion APOEL Lets Coach Go after 8 Months

FILE - In this Monday, Oct. 20, 2014, file photo, APOEL coach Giorgos Donis attends a press conference before a training session of his team at GSP stadium in Nicosia, Cyprus. Cyprus champion APOEL says that it has parted ways with coach Yiorgos Donis and his coaching staff after eight months at the team's helm. APOEL said in a short statement on Thursday, March 22, 2018, that the decision for Donis' departure was mutually agreed but gave no reason why. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias, File)

NICOSIA (AP) — Cyprus league titleholder APOEL parted with coach Yiorgos Donis and his staff on Thursday.

He was immediately replaced by Bruno Miguel Nunes Baltazar with seven games left. The 40-year-old Portuguese coached AEL Limassol until this month.

Baltazar was chosen because of his local knowledge and familiarity with APOEL’s players and opponents, club chairman Prodromos Petrides said on the team website.

APOEL said it mutually agreed with Donis on his departure. The Greek had been in charge for eight months. He also coached APOEL from 2013-15, leading the team into the Champions League.

Petrides said the board of directors decided a coaching change would be helpful in “fulfilling the team’s championship goals.”

FILE – In this Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017 file photo, APOEL Nicosia coach Giorgos Donis reacts during the Champions League Group H soccer match between APOEL Nicosia and Tottenham Hotspur at GSP stadium, in Nicosia, Cyprus. (AP Photo/Petros Karadjias, File)

Baltazar is APOEL’s seventh coach in three years, and Petrides said the changes have all been made for the good of the team.

There was much speculation about Donis’ future after APOEL lost to Apollonas Limassol 4-2 last weekend.

APOEL dropped to second place in the standings behind Apollonas, casting doubt on APOEL’s chance of winning the league for a record sixth straight year.