AEK Athens and Royal Antwerp do battle in the second leg of their Champions League play-off round clash at the OPAP Arena on Wednesday, with the Belgian outfit leading 1-0.
Despite playing over 40 minutes with 10 men, Antwerp were able to hold on to the victory on home soil and give themselves a one-goal advantage heading into the reverse fixture.
AEK’s profligacy in front of goal has been clear to see over their last two matches and that lack of cutting edge in the final third could cost them dearly.
AEK are without striker Levi Garcia, who was replaced in the first-leg loss due to a thigh injury, while winger Paolo Fernandes is also unavailable because of an Achilles issue.
Left-back Jelle Bataille is suspended for Antwerp following his red card in the first leg and he is the latest defensive absentee for the visitors, who are also missing full-back Kobe Corbaine, centre-back Bjorn Engels, and goalkeeping duo Davino Verhulst and Ortwin de Wolf.
Draw @ 11/4
AEK’s inability to turn chances into goals has been evident over the last two games, as they have had a staggering 59 shots but managed to score only once.
Only 12 of those attempts were on target, highlighting the attacking issues, and the absence of both Garcia and Fernandes doesn’t help their cause.
The fact that they have to score to stand any chance of progressing should see them manage to find the back of the net, but whether they can keep Antwerp at bay is another question and judging by recent defensive performances, it’s unlikely they will have the right answers.
AEK have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last four competitive assignments and that may not change against an Antwerp side who have failed to score in only two of their last 11 competitive fixtures away from home.
Having defended so resolutely with 10 men in the first leg, Antwerp should have the ingredients required to pick up the draw and advance to the group stages.
Vincent Janssen to score anytime @ 2/1
There is perhaps no player more likely to get on the scoresheet in the match than Vincent Janssen, who has rediscovered his best form since joining Antwerp in 2022.
Having struggled in his previous spells at Tottenham, Fenerbahce and Monterrey, the Dutch striker has found his feet in Belgium and has notched 22 times from 40 league appearances.
The 29-year-old, who also bagged three goals in the domestic cup last season, grabbed the only goal in the first leg to continue his fine start to the campaign.
Janssen has scored five goals in his last three appearances across all competitions and he looks great value in the any-time scorer market at 2/1.