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Lokomotiv make AEK pay for goalkeeping lapse

AEK Athens FC 1-3 FC Lokomotiv Moskva
The Russian side have the last 32 in sight after a deserved win in Athens though they were ultimately indebted to an error from Giannis Arabatzis.

Vladislav Ignatyev, scorer of Lokomotiv's third, holds off a challenge from AEK's Savvas Gentzoglou
Vladislav Ignatyev, scorer of Lokomotiv's third, holds off a challenge from AEK's Savvas Gentzoglou ©Getty Images

FC Lokomotiv Moskva are on the verge of the UEFA Europa League round of 32 after a 3-1 win at point-less AEK Athens FC, though despite their dominance the match hinged on a goalkeeping error from Giannis Arabatzis.

The Greek outfit, whose own aspirations of advancing from Group L are now over, had offered nothing when Leonardo surprisingly cancelled out Denis Glushakov's opener with a penalty on the hour. Hope renewed, it was cruelly dashed when Arabatzis was caught trying to take the ball round Maicon on the edge of the box, only for the substitute to poke it in. Vladislav Ignatyev wrapped things up ten minutes from time, pouncing on a weak clearance, stepping inside a challenge and firing in.

In truth Lokomotiv ought to have been out of sight long before. José Couceiro's side assumed control from the off at the OACA Spiros Louis Stadium and squandered a gilt-edged chance to cap their bright start after just 14 minutes. Dmitri Torbinski sprang the offside trap but, weighed down by the pressure of a man without a goal since March, he hesitated fatally.

Kostas Manolas covered five metres to block, making another crucial intervention on the cusp of half-time to keep out Ignatyev with Arabatzis beaten. Senijad Ibričić lashed wide and then, five minutes after the restart, the visitors finally struck, Glushakov turning in Victor Obinna's cross under pressure from Nikos Georgeas at the far post.

AEK, hitherto moribund as an attacking threat, came to life, and levelled when substitute Leonardo picked himself up after being brought down by Roman Shishkin and dispatched his spot kick into the bottom corner. It breathed life into AEK's last-32 hopes, briefly, before Arabatzis' blunder sounded a death knell; Ignatyev drove the final nail into their coffin.

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