Olympiacos and APOEL FC remain on track to qualify for the group stage of the UEFA Champions league after successfully completing their third round qualifying ties midweek. Unfortunately for AEK fans, their club’s journey towards Champions League qualification came to an end in Moscow.
Olympiacos successfully closed out its tie in Piraeus against Partizan Belgrade with a 2-2 second leg draw on Thursday morning, giving it a 5-2 aggregate.
The Greek champion twice took the lead in each half through Carcela in the 22nd minute and then through Greek international Kosta Fortounis’s 51 st minute header only to be pegged back by goals in each half to Partizan’s Seydouba Soumah and Durdevic.
In his post-match comments reported on Olympiacos FC Facebook, coach Besnik Hasi pointed out that, despite progressing to the play off round and believing that the team is good, it’s far from the finished product.
“No, we are not even close. We are unstable. We have no steady course. We do a good game and then we do not. We have many players who are not ready and we want to make them better like Emanuele. We do not have many games and we lack automation. When we tell you that we have a very good team,it is something we believe in. We all expected to be better today because we were playing at our headquarters. The truth is that we lack stability. We did a very good game away from home and we expected to do the same. We have 15 days to prepare, we have closed a friendly and we are looking for another one and the truth is that we expected to be better. We have a road ahead of us. “
Whilst Olympiacos remains in contention, AEK was eliminated in its attempts to qualify for the Champions League after going down 1-0 away to CSKA Moscow in its second leg Rd 3 Qualifying match in Moscow. After a scoreless first half, AEK attempted to break the deadlock with two strikes on goal from Victor Klonaridis and Johansson but both were saved by CSKA keeper Akinfeev. CSKA was then able to score a sealer in the 74th minute through Natkho, giving the Russians a 3-0 win on aggregate and sending AEK into the Europa League qualifiers.
Meanwhile Cypriot club APOEL FC progressed to the Champions league Play-off round by defeating Romanian club Viitorul 4-0 in Nicosia but had to rely on extra time after the scores were locked at 1-1 on aggregate following APOEL centre back Carlao’s 54th minute goal.
Three extra time goals to Merkis 93′, De Camargo 94′ and Efrem 105′, gave the home team a 4-0 win on the night and a 4-1 win on aggregate.