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Greece into Uefa Cup December 11, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Football.
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Anderlecht – AEK Athens > 2 – 2

AEK Athens had to settle for a UEFA Cup spot following a 2-2 draw at Anderlecht in their final Champions League Group H match on Wednesday.

Lille’s surprise 2-0 win at AC Milan was enough to see the French side sneak past the Greeks into second place in the group and a place in the next phase of Europe’s top club competition.

‘It’s heartbreaking, but I am proud of the way my players fought back and kept going until the end,’ AEK coach Lorenzo Serra Ferrer told reporters. ‘But it could have been worse considering the way we went behind. We could have missed the UEFA Cup.’

Milan finished top of the group on 10 points with Lille a point behind and AEK one point further back. Anderlecht finished bottom on four points.

‘Tonight was the story of our Champions League campaign. We have given away a lot of late and silly goals,’ said Anderlecht goalkeeper Daniel Zitka. ‘We are still learning at this level and our biggest lesson is that the game is 90 minutes, not 75.’

Anthony Vanden Borre put Anderlecht in front after 38 minutes when he toe-poked home his first Champions League goal following a goalmouth scramble.

Nicolas Frutos doubled the home team’s lead in the 63rd with a powerful strike after AEK keeper Stefano Sorrentino parried away a Mohamed Tchite shot.

The Belgian champions looked on course for their first Group H victory until the visitors struck back 15 minutes from the end with a header from substitute Vassilios Lakis.

Bruno Cirillo grabbed a dramatic equaliser with a volley in the 81st to set up a pulsating finish, but the Greek team were unable to grab a vital winner and must settle for a place in Europe’s second-tier competition.

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