AEK limp out of Europe after stalemate in Kiev
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE - ROUND OF 32 (Leg 2)
|Dynamo Kyiv||0 - 0||AEK|
|(*1 - 1)
AEK Athens were literally frozen out of the Europa League on Thursday after Manolo Jimenez’s team could only muster a goalless draw against Dynamo Kiev in freezing temperatures, exiting at the Round of 32 stage 1-1 on aggregate.
AEK were on top for the first hour of a closely contested match between two evenly matched teams, but in the end the Kitrinomavri just could not find a way through Dynamo’s defence and the Greeks wave goodbye to European football.
It all means that although AEK chalked up their 10th European match without defeat, it is Dynamo who are in the last 16 for the first time since 2015.
It was hard for AEK to take, for whom the damage was done in last week’s first leg in Athens when they bossed the match only to record a disappointing 1-1 draw having missed several good chances.
And once again at the NSK Olimpiysky stadium in Kiev, it was AEK who made all the running for the first hour of play.
The Greeks came closest to scoring in the 22nd minute when after a corner, some desperate defending from Mykola Morozyuk prevented AEK taking the lead that their bright start had warranted.
Dynamo goalkeeper Denys Boyko lost the ball as he came to gather, with the ball looping towards goal, but Dynamo captain Morozyuk did brilliantly to stretch and hook the ball off the line.
AEK continued to pass the ball around effectively into the second half, and the home side were thankful for Boyko’s block just after the hour mark. It was heart-in-mouth time for the home fans as Lazaros Christodoulopoulos fired in a bouncing free-kick from range.
The snow on the pitch meant that the ball gathered pace off the surface and Boyko was just about able to push it away.
AEK then faded as the match wore on and Dynamo’s Júnior Moraes in particular, passed up several decent chances to make things more comfortable for the home side. However, in the end it mattered not as Dynamo celebrated claiming a place in the last 16.
The Round of 16 draw takes place on Friday 23 February.