AC Omonia became the second Cypriot team to claim a Greek scalp in as many days, earning a 2-2 draw against nine-man AEK Athens FC in the decisive leg of their UEFA Cup second qualifying round tie to triumph 3-2 on aggregate.
Twenty-four hours after Anorthosis Famagusta FC completed a 3-1 aggregate victory over Greek titleholders Olympiacos CFP to reach the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, Omonia sparked further celebrations in Cyprus. Nedim Dudić's charges will now attempt to become the second local club to make the group stage of a UEFA competition this season when they enter the first round next month.
With Omonia leading 1-0 from the first leg in Athens, midfielder Klodian Duro put the hosts ahead after ten minutes after he converted a Hamad Ndikumana cross which AEK midfielder Angelos Basinas had failed to clear. AEK were immediately forced to chase the game, their deficit increased, but it was Omonia who missed a great chance moments later – the excellent Duro's free-kick being touched on to the crossbar by goalkeeper Sebastián Saja.
AEK equalised against the run of play not long after, however, as Ismael Blanco headed a Basinas free-kick past goalkeeper Antonis Georgallides. Georgios Donis's AEK then piled on the pressure in the second half but looked powerless to penetrate the well-organised Omonia defence. Their task got even harder when summer signing Ignacio Scocco was sent off for simulation on 58 minutes.
The ten men suffered a further setback when Duro collected a pass from substitute Yiannis Okkas and beat Saja with another powerful strike in the 70th minute. Although Michail Pavlis's shot into the left-hand corner of Georgallides's goal after 88 minutes set up a tense finale, Omonia held on. Juanfran's dismissal in added time for a professional foul on Okkas merely completed a miserable night for Donis's men.