APOEL FC striker Aílton broke Wisła Kraków hearts twice in Nicosia, scoring for a second time in the return leg to send his side back into the UEFA Champions League group stage after Cezary Wilk's goal for the visitors looked to have snatched victory.
Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, APOEL evened up the score with an own goal credited to Wisła goalkeeper Sergei Pareiko, before deservingly taking an overall lead when Aílton darted in to finish from Ivan Trickovski's cross. Wilk then scored with practically Wisła's only meaningful chance to put the visitors ahead on away goals, but Aílton swivelled to score the winner three minutes from time.
Robert Maaskant's Wisła initially coped well enough with APOEL's advances but isolated threats soon morphed into an all-out onslaught as Ivan Jovanović's side looked to secure a return to the group stage, where they gave a good account of themselves in 2009/10. Gustavo Manduca set up one chance for Trickovski and saw a shot of his own deflected wide off team-mate Aílton soon afterwards.
Manduca had a hand in APOEL's opener, with his corner from the right ricocheting over the line, Pareiko unable to get behind the ball after Patryk Małecki had nudged it against his post. The pressure did not relent after that, and half-time provided little relief for Wisła, who went 2-0 down on 54 minutes, Aílton rushing in to provide the finishing touch to Trickovski's dream ball from the right.
All seemed to be lost when − three minutes after coming on as a substitute − Wilk poked Ivica Iliev's elegant ball past Dionisios Chiotis, leaving the home side with 19 minutes to rescue their campaign. APOEL did not despair, though, and Trickovski once more provided the killer ball. Aílton received it with his back to goal, but his forceful low shot on the turn was too hot for Pareiko to handle.
©UEFA.com 1998-2016. All rights reserved.