Brave draw in Athens as battling Vidi qualify for the Europa League Group Stage

AEK Athens and MOL Vidi FC drew 1-1 in the second leg, but it is the Greek side go through 3-2 on aggregate. But it was a brave and heroic performance in the Athens rain. 

The team were in Champions League play off action on Tuesday evening in Athens. The first game ended in a 2-1 win for AEK in Budapest last week, which meant that the Greek side went into the second leg with an advantage. There was one change to the side from last week with the suspended Szabolcs Huszti being replaced by Marko Scepovic. The rain started to fall on Tuesday afternoon and it became heavier with 30 minutes played. 

Danko took the kick off in front of 40,000 fanatical yellow and black supporters. It was the home side that had the first chance, but Hadzic and Juhasz positioned themselves well several times. The Greeks sent several balls in from the left, right and centre, with Mantalos in the thick of the action. 

The first shot arrived on 23 minutes when Klonaridis controlled the ball on his chest, before hitting a shot forward, but it took a deflection and went over. Vidi replied 3 minutes later. Danko took a corner, which Hadzic headed over, but it touched a home defender. The Hungarian side came very close to going ahead after 30 minutes. Danko Lazovic stood behind the ball from 24 meters. He curled a lovely free kick towards the corner, but keeper Barkas pulled off a lovely save to tip the ball over. The home side then attacked and Simoes saw his shot saved by Kovacsik. The rebound failed to find an Athens player and the danger escaped. Mantalos shot from a tight angle after 32 minutes, which again produced a smart stop from Vidi keeper Kovacsik. The rain began to fall heavier and it did not stop with some thunder and lightning thrown in. Livaja tried with a free kick before half time, but the wall did its job, and the teams went in at the break 0-0.

Patkai came on at half time in place of Nikolov with the home side keeping the same team. The second half had hardly started when AEK went ahead. Fiola tangled with the shirt of Lopes following a cross, and the home player fell to the ground, which resulted in the referee from Poland pointing to the spot. Mantalos made no mistake as he found the corner of the net (1-0).

Livaja went on a solo run after 51 minutes and he played himself into the box, but Juhasz and Stopira managed to combine to stop the Croatian forward. Fiola's cross 3 minutes later almost went into the net, after a defender connected with it. AEK handed over space for the counter attack, with Vidi thanking them nicely with the equaliser. With 57 minutes on the clock, Danko's ball found Nego on the right, and he broke into the box, before calmly slipping the ball beyond the keeper and into the back of the net (1-1).

Events quickened in an eventful game. Vidi stepped up a gear and tried to score another goal that would have meant extra time. Nego was again the main player 10 minutes after his goal. Danko again sent the ball to him, and he turned on goal and shot just wide from 17 meters. Lopes then found space on 69 minutes, but Fiola did really well to deny him. Simoes had a long range shot go wide of the target, while Danko sent a powerful reply moments later into the side netting. Patkai fouled Simoes and received a yellow, while Lopes saw red for his challenge on the midfielder. Keeper Barkas again saved from a Danko free kick as Vidi tried hard to force a goal. AEK started to waste time but in the end they ran the clock down and the draw means that they go to the Champions League group stage, while Vidi will enter the Europa League.

Author: David Rechnitzer

More news