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AEK persistence overcomes Hajduk

AEK Athens FC 3-1 HNK Hajduk Split
The Greek side scored twice in the final 25 minutes to underline their superiority after Hajduk had threatened to claim a share of the spoils.

AEK's second-half display was too strong for Hajduk
AEK's second-half display was too strong for Hajduk ©Getty Images

AEK Athens FC made an impressive start to their Group G campaign with a 3-1 success against HNK Hajduk Split.

Dušan Bajević's men were given the perfect platform when Rafik Djebbour confidently fired AEK into an early lead but their fortunes took a turn for the worse as Senijad Ibričić equalised from the penalty spot and Djebbour spurned a spot kick of his own. The home side's blushes were spared when Nikos Liberopoulos poked in after 65 minutes and Nacho Scocco (89) sealed victory.

Djebbour was in the thick of it from the off, fizzing in a shot from the edge of the area that Hajduk goalkeeper Danijel Subašić pushed over. He found the target after 12 minutes, though, when Hrvoje Vejić slipped as he reacted to Scocco's pass and the striker committed the keeper before sweeping into the roof of the net from close range.

Hajduk should have levelled soon after but Anas Sharbini was denied by Giannis Arabatzis and Ivan Strinić sliced the follow-up wide. The incident was a prelude to a host of half-chances for the visitors from Croatia and it was no surprise when they levelled on 29 minutes, Ibričić nonchalantly clipping in a penalty after an offence by Papa Bouba Diop.

Any fears of a quieter second period were dismissed inside 30 seconds when Jurica Buljat felled Djebbour in the area, but Subašić made a flying save to repel the Algerian's penalty and maintain parity. Marin Ljubičić cleared off the line to deny Traianos Dellas a headed goal before the Athenians finally made their second-half supremacy count.

Liberopoulos restored AEK's advantage, prodding in after Subašić failed to hold Scocco's drive. Scocco was not to be denied, though, breaking the offside trap to wrap up the points a minute from time.