Atromitos hold Legia Warsaw in Poland
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE - 3rd QUALIFYING ROUND (1st LEG)
Atromitos claimed a slender advantage over Legia Warsaw in their Europa League third qualifying round tie on Thursday as the Greek club produced an impressive defensive display to earn a goalless draw in the first leg at the Stadion Wojska Polskiego in Poland.
The home side were on top for long spells, especially in the second half, but a brilliant goalkeeping display from Balazs Megyeri and two efforts against the woodwork helped Yannis Anastasiou’s men keep a clean sheet.
The result puts them in the driving seat for a place in the playoffs - the final hurdle before the group stage - as they will have home advantage at the Peristeri Stadium next week.
Atromitos will face either Midtjylland or Glasgow Rangers in the playoffs if they can finish the job and go through.
Atromitos, who defeated FC DAC Dunajska Streda in the previous round, were aiming for an away goal as a minimum requirement against much tougher opposition, in a match where they were not the favorites to win.
Legia, well-known across the continent for their impressive performances in the 2016/2017 UEFA Champions League, have struggled in Europe since that particular season, but they looked the part tonight.
While the first half was a fairly even affair in general, the home side were in complete control after the half-time break and had Atromitos pinned in their final third.
Legia came close to scoring twice, but on both occasions they were denied by the frame of the goal with Lithuanian midfielder Arvydas Novikovas unlucky after 50 minutes and then Spanish striker Carlitos with 16 minutes left.
Megyeri also pulled of several fine saves, while big centre back Spyros Risvanis was also instrumental in helping the visitors prevent the home side from scoring on what was another exciting European night for the Athenian club.
Legia: 1 Majecki (GK), 5 Lewczuk, 7 Antolić, 8 Gvilia, 16 Luís Rocha, 18 Novikovas, 24 André Martins, 29 Vešović, 55 Jędrzejczyk ©, 82 Luquinhas, 99 Kulenović
Atromitos: 16 Megyeri (GK), 3 Katranis, 4 Goutas, 5 Khila, 6 Charisis, 8 Umbides ©, 9 Manoussos, 15 Madson, 28 Natsos, 39 Vellios, 44 Risvanis
HIGHLIGHTS: LEGIA WARSAW - ATROMITOS