Group Stage 2016
  • Giorgios Merkis (9')
  • Georgios Efrem (31', 42', 60')
  • Dimitris Christofi (87' PEN)

Giorgios Efrem makes history for Cyprus as hat trick sees off Andorra

Giorgios Efrem made history by scoring a hat trick as Cyprus got their Euro 2016 qualifying campaign back on track with a 5-0 triumph over Andorra on Sunday.

Giorgios Merkis put the Cypriots on their way in the ninth minute with his first international goal before Efrem doubled the lead on the half-hour mark.

The APOEL midfielder scored his second before the interval and made it 4-0 in the second half to become the first player to score three goals in a single game for his country.

Dimitris Christofi completed the rout three minutes from time when he converted a penalty.

Andorra, in contrast to their dominant hosts, had no shots on target and failed to test Cyprus goalkeeper Antonis Georgallides in a one-sided clash at GSP stadium in Nicosia.

The result lifted Cyprus onto six points in Group B, while Andorra continue to prop up the standings after suffering a fourth successive loss.

Cyprus, looking to bounce back from consecutive defeats to Israel and Wales after their opening victory at Bosnia and Herzegovina, took an early lead when Merkis headed Efrem's corner past Andorra goalkeeper Ferran Poli.

Poli was called on to make a save in the 21st minute to clear Efstathios Aloneftis' left-footed strike from the edge of the area, but he was beaten again 10 minutes later as Cyprus made it 2-0.

Nestor Mitidis' low cross found Efrem in the box and his left-footed effort towards the near post beat Poli.

Andorra were struggling to put a decent move together and Cyprus further extended their advantage three minutes before half-time.

Christofi set up Efrem in the heart of the area and he beat a defender before hitting a diagonal shot beyond Poli's reach and into the back of the net.

Cyprus continued to terrorise the Andorra defence after the re-start and 15 minutes into the second half, Efrem pounced on a loose ball to fire home from close range.

In the 87th minute, English referee Mark Clattenburg pointed to the spot after Andorra's Ivan Lorenzo had brought down substitute Georgios Kolokoudias in the box.

Christofi stepped up to take the penalty and sent Poli the wrong way to complete the demolition.