SPORTS

AEK saves the best for last

AEK ended an otherwise miserable Europa League campaign with a 3-1 away win over Sturm Graz on December 14.

Not only did the result bring AEK?s only points in the group stage of the competition, but it also lifted the Athens side off the bottom of the group, as the Greeks finished third just ahead of the Austrian side on a better head-to-head record.

Despite fielding a depleted side ? as AEK traveled to Graz with just 16 players ? the Yellows were definitely the better side on the night and led from the 10th minute through Costas Manolas.

Nathan Burns made it 2-0 two minutes from half-time after a Roger Guerreiro cross.

Florian Kainz pulled one back for the Austrians, who had beaten AEK 2-1 in Athens a few weeks earlier.

AEK sealed its triumph with a Victor Klonaridis goal in the 77th minute to earn the third spot in the group.

Still, earlier in the evening AEK lost the top spot in the Greek league as Olympiakos beat Levadiakos 4-0 away to move two points ahead of AEK on the same number of games. Panathinaikos is four points behind Olympiakos but has two games in hand.

Kevin Mirallas scored a hat-trick for the Reds after Marko Pantelic had opened the score.