Jorge Costa to coach AEL
© AFP

Former Portuguese international Jorge Costa has taken over the reins at Cyprus champions AEL Limassol ahead of a crunch UEFA Europa League tie with Fenerbahce, the club announced on Wednesday.

The 41-year-old replaces Cypriot coach Pambos Christodoulou who was let go on Monday by mutual consent just days before the clash with the Turkish side.

Costa, a former Porto defender who played 50 times for Portugal, will now be in charge for one of the biggest games in AEL's history when they play Fenerbahce in Nicosia on Thursday night.

AEL announced on its website that Costa had signed a two-year that lasted until the end of the 2013/14 season.

Cypriot Christodoulou, 45, led the team to a slender 2-1 league win against Salamina at the weekend but was ousted amid speculation of a rift between him and the board. A brief statement on AEL's website said the board had "ended its cooperation by mutual consent with the team's coach and his technical staff".

Although it did not elaborate on the reasons for his departure, the club "warmly thanked" Christodoulou for his contribution in winning the title and "bringing joy" to the fans.

Christodoulou took AEL to their first league title for 44 years last season but failed to make it to the Champions League group stage after losing to Anderlecht at the last hurdle.