Aris eclipse AEL Limassol to progress in Europe
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE - 2ND QUALIF. ROUND (LEG 2)
Aris progressed to the UEFA Europa League third qualifying round on Thursday courtesy of a hard-earned 1-0 away victory over Cypriot outfit AEL Limassol in the second leg of their second qualifying round tie.
Following last week’s goalless draw in Thessaloniki, Aris clinched their place in the next round thanks to a Nicolas Diguiny’s penalty after 14 minutes, as well as a superb goalkeeper display from Aris’ shot-stopper Julián Cuesta.
The match was a tactical masterclass from Aris coach Savvas Pantelidis, whose team produced a textbook away performance to silence AEL and keep their European foray going into the next round.
Aris next face Norwegian club Molde, with the matches to be played on August 8 and August 15 respectively.
After drawing a blank against a watertight AEL defence last week in Greece, this second-leg clash was truly crunch time for Aris.
After their miserable years of financial hardship, they are within touching distance of being back in something resembling the big time, and they knew they would have to be at their best if they are to keep their dream of making the group stages alive.
And from the early exchanges it seemed that they would be in for a tough night as the home side fashioned the first chance of the match, missing a golden opportunity to open the scoring in the process.
Aris’ Hungarian defender Mihály Korhut made a mess of a back-pass which went straight to Gevorg Ghazaryan, who surged on goal but was thwarted by a great save from Cuesta.
The Armenian midfielder, and his team, were then left to rue that miss just minutes later when Aris’ Nigerian forward Brown Ideye was brought down in the box by AEL goalkeeper Vozinha, with the referee pointing to the spot.
Frenchman Diguiny then stepped up to score from 12 yards to score what proved to be the crucial goal.
With the goal coming so early, it was always going to be a backs-to-the-wall job for Aris, but their defence, lead by the unbeatable Cuesta, did a superb job of keeping the home side at bay and holding on for a great win.
AEL: 1 Vózinha (GK)(C), 4 André Teixeira, 5 Gaztañaga, 8 Zdravkovski, 10 Ghazaryan, 11 Adamović, 19 Aganović, 21 Godál, 22 Jurado, 42 Wheeler, 44 Teixeira
Aris: 23 Julián (GK), 6 Basha, 7 Diguiny, 10 Larsson, 11 Ideye, 21 Sundgren, 26 Matilla, 28 Fetfatzidis, 44 Velez Jimenez ©, 69 Korhut, 92 Rose
HIGHLIGHTS: AEL LIMASSOL - ARIS