AEK to shoot for its first win
AEK will be looking for its first ever Champions League victory tonight, after 21 attempts, against visiting Lille. If achieved, a win would bolster the Greek team’s diminished hopes of making it past the Champions League’s group stage. Though last with a point from three games, AEK is still within striking distance of a qualifying berth. Milan leads with seven points, Lille is second with five, and Anderlecht is third with two points. In their previous match a fortnight ago in France, Lille defeated AEK, 3-1. Lille, which has yet to win away in this competition, will be without Switzerland striker Daniel Gygax for tonight’s game. Gygax, who scored during Lille’s 3-1 win over the Greeks two weeks ago, is suffering from back pains. In the lead-up to another Champions League game, played late last night between Olympiakos and Roma in Italy, for Group D, one person was stabbed and a bus was set on fire during clashes that broke out. A 32-year-old Olympiakos supporter was stabbed five times in the leg after Roma fans broke into a hotel where Greek fans were staying, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. The victim was taken to the hospital for treatment. In a separate incident, Roma fans set fire to an Olympiakos supporters’ bus, parked outside another hotel on the outskirts of Rome. No injuries were reported and the fire was put out by Olympiakos fans. On Monday, nine Roma supporters were arrested for carrying clubs, knives and brass knuckles, while two Greeks were kicked and punched by a gang of five youths, Rome police said. About 5,000 Olympiakos fans are believed to have traveled to Italy for last night’s game. The attacks by the Italian club’s fans are believed to have come as a response to trouble caused by Olympiakos fans a fortnight ago when the teams played at Karaiskaki Stadium. Olympiakos fans threw Molotov cocktails and stones at a Roma bus exiting the stadium following the match, won by the Italians, 1-0. Objects were also thrown at Italian fans inside the stadium. No injuries were reported. Last night’s trouble in Rome comes in the midst of heated debate in Greece about how to tackle hooliganism. Crowd violence between rival fans has erupted at two Greek soccer league games over the past week. Trouble also marred a Greek basketball match last weekend when Olympiakos fans launched an attack on journalists after losing to archrival Panathinaikos.