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Apollon overturn Aberdeen to book playoff place

Andre Skembri celebrates after scoring the first goal for Apollon

Apollon join AEK in the playoff round of the Europa League following a 2-0 win over Aberdeen on Thursday night in Larnaca which sees the Limassol club go through 3-2 on aggregate.

Ahead of the game, the Cypriot club called on their fans to turn the heat up on their rivals, and they duly delivered as a sellout crowd at the AEK Arena helped their side to a big win.

It took just 17 minutes to get their reward. A powerfully whipped-in cross from the left by Jander was not dealt with by the Aberdeen defence. Anton Maglica then laid the ball off to Andre Schembri who lashed home through a host of defenders for the highly-craved breakthrough.

The tie was still finely balanced throughout, as an away goal for Aberdeen meant that Apollon would have to get another. Ryan Christie, who opened the scoring last week in Scotland, sent out a warning sign shortly after with a long-range free-kick that forced Bruno Vale into a good stop.

It was a nervy second period for the hosts, as Christie and Gary Mackay-Steven came close, before a late header from substitute Nicky Maynard was blocked on its way to the bottom corner.

But with the visitors throwing numbers forward in pursuit of a leveller, Apollon capitalised with a quick counter-attack. Aberdeen keeper Joe Lewis made a fantastic save to initially deny Maglica but the rebound was volleyed in by Emilio Zelaya.

Aberdeen continued to push as an away goal would have forced extra-time. Suspense carried through until the very last minute but Apollon held on for a historic win which puts them within touching distance of the Europa League groups.

Apollon and AEK will find out their playoff opponents in today’s draw, shortly after it is revealed who Apoel will be facing in the Champions League.

Results from the Uefa Europa League Qualifying Round 3 second leg matches on Thursday:

Maritimo (Portugal) – Botev Plovdiv (Bulgaria) 2-0 (halftime: 1-0)
First leg: Botev Plovdiv – Maritimo 0-0. Maritimo win 2-0 on aggregate.
PAOK Salonika (Greece) – Olimpik Donetsk (Ukraine) 2-0 (halftime: 2-0)
First leg: Olimpik Donetsk – PAOK Salonika 1-1. PAOK Salonika win 3-1 on aggregate.
Lyngby (Denmark) – FC Krasnodar (Russia) 1-3 (halftime: 1-2)
First leg: FC Krasnodar – Lyngby 2-1. FC Krasnodar win 5-2 on aggregate.
CS Fola Esch (Luxembourg) – Ostersunds FK (Sweden) 1-2 (halftime: 0-0)
First leg: Ostersunds FK – CS Fola Esch 1-0. Ostersunds FK win 3-1 on aggregate.
Fenerbahce (Turkey) – Sturm Graz (Austria) 1-1 (halftime: 1-0)
First leg: Sturm Graz – Fenerbahce 1-2. Fenerbahce win 3-2 on aggregate.
Apollon Limassol (Cyprus) – Aberdeen (Scotland) 2-0 (halftime: 1-0)
First leg: Aberdeen – Apollon Limassol 2-1. Apollon Limassol win 3-2 on aggregate.
FC Oleksandriya (Ukraine) – FC Astra (Romania) 1-0 (halftime: 1-0)
First leg: FC Astra – FC Oleksandriya 0-0. FC Oleksandriya win 1-0 on aggregate.
Zenit St Petersburg (Russia) – Bnei Yehuda (Israel) 0-1 (halftime: 0-0)
First leg: Bnei Yehuda – Zenit St Petersburg 0-2. Zenit St Petersburg win 2-1 on aggregate.
FK Qabala (Azerbaijan) – Panathinaikos (Greece) 1-2 (halftime: 0-0)
First leg: Panathinaikos – FK Qabala 1-0. Panathinaikos win 3-1 on aggregate.
Sparta Prague (Czech Republic) – Red Star Belgrade (Serbia) 0-1 (halftime: 0-1)
First leg: Red Star Belgrade – Sparta Prague 2-0. Red Star Belgrade win 3-0 on aggregate.
Videoton FC (Hungary) – Girondins Bordeaux (France) 1-0 (halftime: 1-0)
First leg: Girondins Bordeaux – Videoton FC 2-1. Videoton FC win on away goals after 2-2 on aggregate.
Odd Grenland (Norway) – Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia) 0-0 (halftime: 0-0)
First leg: Dinamo Zagreb – Odd Grenland 2-1. Dinamo Zagreb win 2-1 on aggregate.
Dinamo Minsk (Belarus) – AEK Larnaca (Cyprus) 1-1 (halftime: 0-0)
First leg: AEK Larnaca – Dinamo Minsk 2-0. AEK Larnaca win 3-1 on aggregate.
KF Shkendija (Macedonia) – Trakai (Lithuania) 3-0 (halftime: 2-0)
First leg: Trakai – KF Shkendija 2-1. KF Shkendija win 4-2 on aggregate.
Wednesday, August 2, second leg
AEL Limassol (Cyprus) – Austria Vienna (Austria) 1-2 (halftime: 0-1)
First leg: Austria Vienna – AEL Limassol 0-0. Austria Vienna win 2-1 on aggregate.
Sion (Switzerland) – Suduva Marijampole (Lithuania) 1-1 (halftime: 0-0)
First leg: Suduva Marijampole – Sion 3-0. Suduva Marijampole win 4-1 on aggregate.

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