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AEK survive scare to reach Europa playoff

AEK players celebrate after a game

AEK are through to the playoff round of the Europa League after a 1-1 draw in Belarus against Dinamo Minsk (3-1 aggregate).

Dinamo’s Anton Saroka then went close with a clean strike on the half volley midway through the first half, and though it did not have enough direction to beat Juan Pablo, it was a warning sign for AEK.

The hosts eventually got the breakthrough just after the restart from the penalty spot, and it was Saroka who tucked it away to set up a tense second period for the visitors.

AEK looked nervous from that point on, and so nearly saw the tie levelled when Saroka was played in on goal but blazed the ball well over the bar from close range. Dinamo’s Atrem Bykov was sent off for a second yellow but the hosts continued to pressure until the end.

Dinamo goalkeeper Ignatovich joined the attack for corner deep into injury time, so when AEK regained possession, Acoran Barrera had the freedom of the opposing half to run into before smashing into an empty net to secure progression for AEK.

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