AEK seeks a miracle for berth in Rome

AEK played to a 1-1 draw with Racing Genk late Wednesday night to maintain its slim chances of reaching the next phase of the Champions League. It was AEK’s fifth straight tie in the competition. Nine-time winner Real Madrid suffered its first defeat in the Champions League this season, losing to Roma 1-0 at home. Real and Roma are now even at the top of Group C with eight points each, followed by AEK with five and Genk with three. The final games in two weeks will determine which clubs advance to the last 16 and the runner-up position for a place in the UEFA Cup. AEK next meets Roma in the Italian capital, while Genk will host Real. Genk started aggressively in the opening minutes of the match and almost went ahead in the second, when a header from Wesley Sonck skimmed past the post. The visitors struck again in the 12th with Japanese forward Takayuki Suzuki who exploited a defensive mistake but fired straight at goalie Dionysis Chiotis. Genk scored its first goal in the Champions League when Sonck found the net in the 22nd with the ball laid on by Bernd Thijs. In the 30th, Vassilis Lakis gained a deep pass outside the Belgian area, tapped the ball over keeper Jan Moons and leveled the score. Five minutes later, Moons sprinted out of his area to clear the ball away from Grigoris Georgatos. A blistering shot by Thijs went over the crossbar in the 56th, and moments later Igor Tomasic thwarted a goal-bound run by Georgatos. In the final minutes of the game, AEK launched successive attacks but the Belgians resisted well. (AP)

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