Having recorded a fairly comfortable victory in Athens last week, CSKA Moscow go into this week’s fixture as the overwhelming favourites to make it through to the Champions League play-off stage. Goals from Alan Dzagoev and Pontus Wernbloom mean that AEK Athens head to the VEB Arena knowing that they must score at least two goals to give themselves any chance of qualifying.
Manolo Jiménez’s men are most famous for their Champions League run back in 2002/03, where they drew all of their games despite being drawn against the likes of AS Roma and Real Madrid. However, they face an almighty battle to overcome a 2-0 deficit in Russia on Wednesday night, with many punters expected to wager on the encounter. As a result, let’s take a closer look at the two teams, along with our top betting tip for the match.
Manager Viktor Goncharenko will be working hard to ensure that complacency does play a part in CSKA’s second leg encounter with AEK. Brazilian striker, Vitinho, is back from a successful loan spell back in his homeland, with the 23-year-old looking to open his account in the Champions League this season. CSKA are notoriously difficult to beat on their home turf, with Russian internationals such as Aleksandr Golovin, Sergei Ignashevich and Dzagoev having vast experience within this competition. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev will be looking to register another clean sheet, having achieved his first ever Champions League shut-out in Athens last week, at the 44th chance of asking.
AEK Athens were unable to capitalise on their home advantage during the first leg, however their form at the end of the season in the Greek top-flight last time around shows that they are still likely to be a threat in Russia. The yellow and blacks are likely to be spearheaded by former Portugal striker Hugo Almeida in Moscow, with the former Porto striker having previously played in Russia for Anzhi. Despite a lack of star names, AEK have formed a reputation for their ability to comeback from losing situations, something which they will need to draw upon again on Wednesday night.
Top Betting Tip
Despite AEK perhaps being a little unfortunate to come away from the first-leg with nothing to show from their efforts, they are only likely to have a harder time of things in Russia, with CSKA looking to complete their job in front of their home support. As a result, our top betting tip is to bet on the home side claiming another victory, which can be found at best odds of 8/15 at popular bookmakers William Hill.