AEK put themselves in the driving seat for a place in the Champions League group stage on Wednesday with a 2-1 win at Hungary’s Vidi FC.
Vidi and AEK each had a player sent off and the Greek side benefited soon after the home team’s striker Szabolcs Huszti was shown a straight red card for a reckless foul midway through the first half.
Viktor Klonaridis fired AEK ahead when he tucked the ball away from point-blank range in the 34th minute and Tasos Bakasetas doubled the lead early in the second half with a deflected shot from the edge of the penalty area.
Bakasetas was also given his marching orders after being shown a second yellow card and Danko Lazovic pulled one back for Vidi with a neat finish.
The result means AEK are close to seal a superb return to the Champions League group stage draw on August 30, just five years after playing in the third tier of Greek football due to financial ruin.
AEK now simply have to finish the job at the Olympic Stadium in Athens next week.