After a 12-year absence, AEK Athens were back to the UEFA Champions League group stage on Tuesday when they drew Hungary’s MOL Vidi 1-1 at Athens OAKA stadium.
Thanks to their 2-1 win on road one week ago, AEK advanced on 3-2 aggregate score.
Captain Petros Mantalos opened the scoring for AEK, slotting home a penalty just after half-time in a match which the home side controlled for long spells.
A lapse in concentration at the back did let in Vidi’s Loic Nego to equalise after 57 minutes.
A tense finish ensued, especially after AEK had Hélder Lopes sent off with nine minutes left for a senseless off the ball clash, but Marinos Ouzounidis’ Greek titleholders held on to claim a stunning return to the group stages of Europe’s elite competition.