AEK Athens FC conceded an early goal and survived a barrage of close shaves before escaping their UEFA Cup Group C opener against IF Elfsborg with a point.
The Swedish champions were seemingly strolling to victory at the Borås Arena when Daniel Mobäck headed them ahead after 15 minutes. But, having watched on helplessly as Elfsborg dominated the first half, AEK bounced back with a vengeance and four minutes after the restart substitute Charilaos Pappas drilled an equaliser into the top corner. If AEK thought they were home and dry, however, they were wrong. First Mobäck and then Daniel Alexandersson rattled their woodwork as Elfsborg chased the win, but ultimately had to settle for a point.
AEK had lost their last six European away games coming into this fixture and the early signs offered little optimism to their travelling fans. In fact, Stefan Ishizaki and Mathias Svensson had both had goalkeeper Moretto scrambling before Mobäck headed the opener after quarter of an hour. Alexandersson was the architect, finding space on the right wing before whipping in the cross, and Mobäck was clinical in his execution.
It seemed to instigate something of an AEK revival as both Júlio César and Manú went close, although Moretto was soon denying Ishizaki again on the half-hour. The second half, initially, was a different story. Ismael Blanco set the tone, jinking past a couple of tackles before unleashing from distance and Pappas had also caused confusion in the home defence before rifling the equaliser into the top corner. Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Johan Karlsson then traded chances before Mobäck and Alexandersson hit the post and bar respectively - leaving Elfsborg with the greater reason to feel frustrated at the final whistle.