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Anderlecht hit back to stay level with AEK

AEK Athens FC 1-1 RSC Anderlecht
With FC Zenit St. Petersburg having sealed top spot in Group G, AEK and Anderlecht remain level in the race for the second round of 32 berth.

Anderlecht hit back to stay level with AEK
Anderlecht hit back to stay level with AEK ©UEFA.com

The race for second spot in UEFA Europa League Group G remains wide open after AEK Athens FC and RSC Anderlecht both moved on to four points courtesy of a 1-1 draw in the Greek capital.

AEK, defeated 3-0 in Belgium on Matchday 3, struck the first blow in the return, Ismael Blanco powering in a 48th-mintue penalty. Jan Polák levelled for the visitors seven minutes later when he tapped in Jonathan Legear's cross. The result does little to aid either side's cause, leaving them both an unassailable eight points behind FC Zenit St. Petersburg, and one above HNK Hajduk Split.

AEK were in need of a positive result to bounce back from their disappointment in Brussels and began promisingly, Blanco narrowly failing to convert Leonardo's right-wing cross after seven minutes. The visitors threatened on the break and Roland Juhász's downward header from Mbark Boussoufa's free-kick bounced over the bar. Boussoufa also tested AEK goalkeeper Sebastián Saja with a snap shot.

Anderlecht defender Ondřej Mazuch almost inadvertently gave AEK the lead when his misguided header from Leonardo's corner flashed past the frame of Silvio Proto's goal. Savas Gentzoglou then prodded over from a Blanco cross on the half-hour as the hosts began to enjoy greater possession.

AEK had a dream start to the second period when they were awarded a penalty just three minutes in, Juhász penalised for a foul on Rafik Djebbour: Blanco confidently converted. Their lead did not last long, however, Les Mauves et Blancs equalising when Legear's determined run and cross was converted from close range by Polák. Both teams had chances to win late on, AEK substitute Éder firing over and Romelu Lukaku hitting a post.

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