Bright lights of the Champions League in sight for AEK
Sitting in the box seat, AEK Athens are aiming to reach the bright lights of the UEFA Champions League group stages and see off the challenge of MOL Vidi FC. AGONAsport previews the duel.
Watch LIVE from AGONAsport: AEK -Vidi, UEFA Champions League Playoffs on Tuesday August 28th. Details here.
Last week, the Kitrinomavri took a huge step towards their first campaign in the Champions League group stages since 2006, earning a tough 2:1 victory in Budapest. Early on, Vidi midfielder Szabolcs Huszti was handed a cheap red card, and AEK duly punished their opponents with a poacher’s goal from the in-form Viktor Klonaridis. Immediately after the break, Anastasios Bakasetas doubled AEK’s money with a superb strike, however the forward then contrived to be sent off and the game subsequently turned on its head.
Danko Lazovic took advantage of a slip from Vasilis Lampropoulos to halve the deficit for Vidi, and had the hosts not missed a handful of guilt edged opportunities, AEK wouldn’t have returned to Greece with a 2:1 lead. Boasting two away goals, the Enosis are overwhelming favourites to advance to the group stages, but coach Marinos Ouzounidis is eager for his players to play with full focus and concentration in order to seal the deal.
At the weekend, reigning Super League winners AEK made the perfect start to their title defence, beating PAS Giannina 2:0 with excellent goals from Ezequiel Ponce and Marko Livaja in an impressive, slick performance. For their part, Vidi were granted a rest from the Hungarian championship in order to prepare for the return leg against AEK.
TEAM NEWS: AEK
During Saturday’s professional win over PAS Giannina, Brazilian right-back Rodrigo Galo received a damaging strain to his left leg which has made him unavailable for the match alongside injured forwards Lucas Boye and Christos Almpanis. As a result of his red card in Hungary, Bakasetas is ineligible for selection. Ukrainian centre-back Dmytro Chygrynskiy is still on the sidelines, however recent signing Stratos Svarnas has been included in the squad.
Helder Lopes could be drafted in to replace Bakasetas in the attacking third.
Possible line-up: Barkas, Bakakis, Oikonomou, Lampropoulos, Hult, Simoes, Galanopoulos, Lopes, Mantalos, Klonaridis, Livaja.
TEAM NEWS: VIDI
Influential midfielder Szabolcs Huszti let his team down with his red card in Budapest and he cannot play any part in the game in the Olympic Stadium. Taking into account that Vidi need at least two goals to emerge victorious, manager Marko Nikolic will go with an attacking roster, meaning Serbian forward Stefan Scepovic will probably start alongside Lazovic.
Possible line-up: Kovacsik, Fiola, Juhasz, Vinicius, Stopira, Hadzic, Nikolov, Nego, Kovacs, Scepovic, Lazovic.
REFEREE: Szymon Marciniak (POL)
Experienced Pole Szymon Marciniak will control proceedings in the Greek capital. Now 37 years of age, Marciniak has been a FIFA registered referee since 2011, receiving the honour of refereeing the Argentina-Iceland and Germany-Sweden matches at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
On August 15, Marciniak took charge of the UEFA Super Cup between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid (2:4), dishing out a grand total of eight yellow cards and one penalty.
Referee: Szymon Marciniak (POL)
Assistant referees: Paweł Sokolnicki (POL), Tomasz Listkiewicz (POL)
Fourth official: Radoslaw Siejka (POL)
Additional assistant referees: Pawel Raczkowski (POL), Tomasz Musial (POL)
WAYS TO QUALIFY
AEK simply have to avoid conceding two goals to qualify for the group stages. A win, draw or 0:1 loss will see AEK through, however if Vidi win by two clear goals, the Hungarians will progress. A 2:1 Vidi victory takes the tie into extra time.
WHERE TO WATCH