AEK Larnaca grab slight advantage over Petrocub
AEK Larnaca opened the action for Cypriot teams in Europe for the new season with a 1:0 win over Moldavian side FC Petrocub in the UEFA Europa League first qualifying round.
Hector Hevel gave the hosts an early lead just four minutes after the opening whistle to put AEK in control. Despite the early lead and controlling most of the game, the hosts did not manage to find many goal-scoring opportunities, while the Moldovans looked to strike on the counter attack. AEK can advance to the next round if they improve and present themselves in a proper manner in the second leg, as Petrocub showed that they can do damage if they are underestimated.
Imanol Idiakez’s squad will travel next week to Moldova for next week’s second leg with a slender, one goal lead.
AEK could not have started the game in a better way as an excellent free-kick from Hevel found the back of the net to give AEK the lead in the fourth minute. The early goal did not open up the game, though, as many fouls slowed down the pace. In the 22nd minute, Daniel Mojsov took a header from Hevel’s ball, but his effort went wide and moments later, Dan Taras’ attempt was saved by Tono Ramirez.
The game did not produce much in terms of action, but both teams came close to scoring goals in first half stoppage time. First, the visitors through Taras threatened again as his shot from the side went wide. Taras was in the action again, but this time on his end of the pitch. In his effort to clear the ball, he somehow managed to hit his own post and with some luck, the half-time score remained at 1:0 in favor of AEK.
Two minutes into the second half, AEK came close to a second goal when Mojsov’s header forced Cristian Avram to a big leg-save. In the 69th minute, Petrocub had a good chance to equalize as a long shot from Jessie Djou was cleared to a corner by Tono. In similar fashion to the first half, the pace was slow due to the many fouls.
AEK improved towards the end of the game and looked to find another goal, however despite the possession, they were only able to threaten once. Their chance came in the 83rd minute when Avram received the ball and sent his shot to a corner. Petrocub held the deficit at one-goal for the remaining of the game and will look to upset AEK next week in Moldova.
AEK Larnaca (Imanol Idiakez): Tono Ramirez (GK), Guillem Truyols, Daniel Mojsov (Nacho Cases), Mikel Gonzalez, Thomas Ioannou (Tete), Hector Hevel (Acoran Reyes), Raul Ruiz, Lluis Sastre, Apostolos Giannou, Ivan Trickovski ©, Florian Taulemesse
FC Petrocub (Lilian Popescu): Cristian Avram (GK), Victor Mudrac, Maxim Potirniche, Jacques Ndzomo, Donalio Douanla, Andrei Cojocari, Jessie Djou ©, Ion Jardan, Alexandru Bejan (Iaser Turcan), Alexandru Dedov (Vadim Gulceac), Dan Taras (Vlad Slivca)
HIGHLIGHTS: AEK LARNACA - PETROCUB