SPORTS

Last-minute goal sends AEK to the semis

AEK rose from the dead with a late, late goal over Panathinaikos to win their quarterfinal tie 4-3 on aggregate through a 3-2 loss on February 2.

Panathinaikos’s 3-2 victory on the night at the Olympic Stadium in Athens was not enough as the Greens had lost 2-0 in the first leg, meaning AEK advanced to face PAOK in the semifinals.

Michel scored the all-important goal for AEK in the eighth minute of the injury time, but owed it partly to a howler by Panathinaikos goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis, who misjudged the course of the Spaniard’s free-kick shot from about 40 meters away.

Panathinaikos played with 10 men from the 74th minute but had seemed able to hold on to its advantage, only for new signing Michel to punish it in the end.

AEK took the lead on the night in the 12th minute courtesy of Panayiotis Lagos, whose low shot from just inside the area beat Panathinaikos keeper Karnezis, who should have done better.

Panathinaikos responded nine minutes later, as a Sebastian Leto corner was headed into the six-yard box from where an unmarked Djibril Cisse scored with a header.

A fantastic right-foot volley from outside the box by Gilberto Silva during first-half injury time gave the Greens a 2-1 advantage with the game’s most spectacular goal.

A replica of the first Panathinaikos goal came in the 63rd minute, with a corner from the right headed to the second post by Josu Sarriegi where Loukas Vintra headed the ball past goalie Sebastian Saja for 3-1.

The match was stopped for about three minutes as about 10 AEK fans invaded the pitch after the third Panathinaikos goal. Turning from hero to villain, Vintra saw a second yellow card at the 74th minute, leaving Panathinaikos with 10 men.

Cisse could have sealed it for Panathinaikos four minutes from time but Nikos Karambelas saved AEK in that instance.

AEK had a chance to snatch the win just before the end but the shot by new signing Nabil Baha went over the bar in the last minute of injury time, before Michel settled the tie with his free kick.