AEK’s Champions League dream ended by CSKA Moscow

AEK’s Champions League dream ended by CSKA Moscow


CSKA Moscow 1 - 0 AEK
Natkho 74'
(3 - 0)

AEK Athens were denied the chance to play Champions League football by CSKA Moscow on Wednesday, suffering a 3-0 aggregate defeat in their third qualifying round tie after the second leg ended in a 1-0 defeat.

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AEK were markedly better than their showing in Moscow compared to last week’s limp home defeat at the Olympic Stadium, but the mountainous task to salvage the tie proved too much for Manolo Jimenez’s side.

The Kitrinomavri will now drop down into Friday’s draw for the Europa League playoffs and will look to salvage a place in the group stages of that competition so that last season’s hard work does not go to waste.

On the night in Russia, AEK, who last featured in the Champions League group stage in 2006/07, faced CSKA head on with both teams attacking in sporadic bursts and ending up level with two shots on target each after a closely-contested opening half.

Petros Mantalos and Jakob Johansson both had efforts saved by CSKA keeper Igor Akinfeev, while the visitors were lucky to escape in the 26th minute when the opening half’s best chance was wasted by Aleksandr Golovin, who completely missed the target from a good position.

AEK began the second half in determined mood, with Victor Klonaridis seeing an effort blocked by Akinfeev, who came to the rescue again for the hosts with a great save from Johansson three minutes after the hour mark.

Then, just as he did in the first leg – twice – CSKA’s Vintinho conjured a goal for his team from a corner, with substitute Bibras Natcho pouncing on Aleksi Berezutski’s flick-on to score.

That goal gave CSKA their first European home win after a five-match winless streak.


by Graham Wood
Image Source: sdna.gr
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