All of Greece’s three representatives in the Europa League have maintained their hopes of advancing to the competition’s play-offs after the first legs on Thursday, with Panathinaikos winning at home, AEK drawing in France and PAS Giannina losing by one goal in the Netherlands.
Brazilian central defender Moledo gave Panathinaikos a precious 1-0 home win over AIK Solna at the Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium, after a game the Greens dominated but had to wait until the 79th minute to score.
Having missed a number of chances and seen two goals disallowed, Panathinaikos scored the winner from a Giandomenico Mesto cross that Moledo sent home with a bullet header. AIK was twice denied by Panathinaikos keeper Luke Steele.
AEK frustrated its host, Saint Etienne to a goalless draw and is now well-positioned to win the tie with a good enough performance in Athens next week.
On its return to European soccer after four years in the wilderness, including going down to Greece’s third division, the Greek Cup holder played a waiting game in France without taking too many chances in the process. The hosts had possession but could not create a major chance to score.
PAS Giannina was much more composed than in its previous away game a week earlier at Odd Grenland, but still lost 1-0 at AZ Alkmaar.
The Dutch side was on top for most of the game and scored on the 36th minute through Derrick Luckassen with a diving header on the sole occasion where PAS keeper Alexandros Paschalakis was beaten on the night. The return leg, to be played at Peristeri, western Athens, is PAS’s chance to make history again.
All second-leg games will take place on Thursday, August 4.