Football

Djebbour puts AEK in control

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Dundee United's hopes of qualifying for the Europa League were left dangling by at thread after they suffered a 1-0 defeat to AEK Athens at Tannadice.

Rafik Djebbour scored after 11 minutes when he slotted home Ignacio Scocco's inviting cross in the first-leg of the qualifying round tie.

After a nervous opening the hosts found their composure as the game wore on but were unable to properly test the AEK rearguard, although Jon Daly could have scored a precious equaliser in the closing stages but failed to find the target with only the goalkeeper to beat.

AEK settled into the game immediately and were content to hold on to the ball and play a slow, passing game, while the hosts made a nervy start and were fortunate that a couple of stray passes went unpunished.

But the hosts were made to pay after 11 minutes when Scocco's tantalising ball across the United goal was slammed into the back of the net by the clinical Djebbour.

The same pair combined three minutes later but this time Dusan Pernis was equal to Djebbour's low drive.

As the half wore on United came more into the match but were too often let down by a poor final ball although Paul Dixon did send an inviting cross into the area after 32 minutes but goalkeeper Sebastian Saja punched the ball to safety.

AEK made a lively start to the second half with Leonardo unleashing a low drive from the edge of the area that Pernis gathered at the second attempt.

However, United pressed for an equaliser and the ball broke kindly on the edge of the area for Keith Watson after 62 minutes but the young right-back failed to keep his volley under the target.

Irishman Daly, who had been starved of service for most of the evening, could have restored parity in the closing stages when the ball broke for him in the area but he dragged his left-foot shot woefully wide of the target.

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Topics:
Europa League
Football
Paul Dixon

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