SPORTS

Smooth draw for Reds, triumph for Yellows

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

Karim Ansarifard has just scored AEK's winning goal.

TAGS: Soccer

Olympiakos has landed a trip to Manchester and a relatively favorable draw for the group stage of the Champions League, as AEK upset German side Wolfsburg to make the Europa League group stage.

The Reds were drawn on Thursday in the same group as Manchester City, Porto and Marseille, with the games starting on October 20-21.

The draw is far from prohibitive for Olympiakos’ dreams of reaching the knockout stage of the competition, but the Greek champion could just as easily end up bottom of the group if it underestimates any of its opponents.

Supersub Karim Ansarifard gave AEK the ticket to the group stage of the Europa League with his late winner as the Yellows came from behind to eliminate Wolfsburg with a 2-1 score.

With the game barely 20 minutes old at the Olympic Stadium of Athens, Petros Mantalos had a penalty kick saved by Wolfsburg keeper Pavao Pervan.

As if that were not bad enough for AEK, Admir Mehmedi opened  the score for the Germans with the last kick of the first half through a long diagonal shot from the edge of the area, after a triangular move by the visitors.

However AEK’s fortune changed after the interval: Less than 20 minutes into the second half Andre Simoes tried a powerful shot from outside the box and the ball tossed the Wolfsburg net for 1-1.

Then in the fourth minute of time added on Ansarifard pulled a great trick out of his hat, as he ran across the edge of the box and tried an off-balance right shot that caught Pervan wrong-footed and triggered wild celebrations among the AEK squad on and off the pitch.

AEK will therefore join PAOK in Friday’s group stage draw.

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