AEK Athens vs Vidi FC – Tuesday, August 28, 20:00 BST/21:00 CEST – OAKA Spiros Louis, Athens, Greece
Greek side AEK Athens are just 90 minutes away from returning to the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time since the 2006/07 season. The Greeks have the advantage after beating Hungarian side Vidi FC 2-1 in Budapest last Wednesday.
In what was a heated affair with red cards to Vidi’s Szabolcs Huszti (23′) and AEK’s Anastasios Bakasetas. It was exactly the sort of game Greek teams cherish.
Football in the Greek Superleague is usually heated and physical. Hence, AEK were happy to take that energy to Vidi, who struggled with the intensity.
Furthermore, without Huszti in the lineup, Vidi struggled to create much and AEK, in turn, used the extra space to score two goals, Viktor Klonaridis (34′) and Anastasios Bakasetas (49′) were the scorers. Only after Bakasetas was sent off did the Hungarians slowly find a way back into the game.
Danko Lazović scored for Vidi in the 67′. It will be, however, be interesting to see how AEK head coach Marinos Ouzounidis will replace goalscorer Bakasetas.
The Greek champions defeated PAS Giannina on Saturday to open the Greek Superleague. Bakasetas was available in that match, but Ouzounidis drew back Marko Livaja into midfield and played new signing Ezequiel Ponce up front.
Ultimately, the two away goals by the Greeks might be too much of a mountain to climb. Furthermore, the Olympiako Stadio Athina Spyros Louis can be a difficult ground for away teams and anything but AEK advancing would be a big surprise.
AEK Athens vs Vidi FC – Players to look out for:
Marko Livaja #10 – AEK Athens
Marko Livaja continues to get the job done. Signed on loan from Las Palmas one year ago AEK decided to make the transfer permanent after Livaja scored eight goals and six assists in 27 games last season. Costing the club €1.8 million Livaja already has earned some of that money back when he helped eliminate Celtic in the previous round. Helping his team reach the Champions League group stage is now next on the tasking order.
István Kovács #10 – Vidi FC
With Szabolcs Huszti out for the second leg István Kovács will be the creative heart of Vidi FC. The attacking midfielder usually operates as a playmaker or a false-number nine in concert with an all-out striker. Signed from Haladás in 2012 the 26-year-old midfielder is a five times Hungarian national team player.
AEK Athens vs Vidi FC – Match Stats
- AEK lead 2-1 from first leg in Hungary
- Klonaridis & Bakasetas on target in Budapest
- Greek side last made Champions League groups in 2006/07
- Winners will head to Champions League group stage draw on 30 August
- Losers bound for Europa League group stage draw the following day
Futbolgrad Network Prediction: AEK Athens vs Vidi FC – 3-0
AEK Athens vs Vidi FC – Lineups
Barkas – Hult, Lampropoulous, Oikonomou, Bakakis – Simões, Alef – Livaja, Klonaridis, Rodrigo Galo – Ponce
Head Coach: Marinos Ouzounidis
Kovácsik – Sopira, Juhasz, Vinícius, Nego – Nikolov, Hadzić, Pátkal – Kovács – Lazović, M. Scepović
Head Coach: Marko Nikolić
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.