SOUTHEND United right-back Jason Demetriou was quick to express his relief after helping Cyprus see off Gibraltar in Friday night’s World Cup qualifier.

Demetriou’s late cross was headed home by Pieros Sotiriou to secure Cyprus a 2-1 victory.

And the 29-year-old defender was delighted to have avoided a disappointing setback.

“It was a relief to get the victory in the end because it was a game we were expected to win and there would have been a lot of unhappy people if we hadn’t have won,” said Demetriou.

“If I’m honest I think we probably underestimated them a little bit and we were almost made to pay the price for that.

“But thankfully we were able to get the win with a late goal and it was nice for me to get an assist.

“I really enjoy playing with Cyprus but we haven’t had too many victories recently so it was a nice feeling to get the win with this group of players.”

The win came against a Gibraltar side who are yet to win a competitive fixture and saw Cyprus move up to fourth in Group H.

The game was Demetriou’s 47th for his country and came just days after he had lined up in a 4-0 defeat against a strong Portugal side in an international friendly.

“Portugal had all their top players in the team apart from the ones who play for Real Madrid because they had been playing in the Champions League final,” said Demetriou.

“They were really good and it was certainly an experience coming up against those kind of players.

“I enjoyed the challenge but not the scoreline.”

Demetriou flew back into Southend Airport on Saturday and will now enjoy a short break before teaming up with the Shrimpers for pre-season training.

“I think it’s important to rest up a little bit because I’ve still been training and playing but I’ll be talking to the fitness coaches at Southend and we’ll go from there,” said the right-back.

“It will be good to see everyone again and to begin the preparations for next season.

“It’s an important time of the season and we’ll be putting a lot of hard work in because we want to make sure we get off to a good start, unlike what happened last year.”