CSKA Moscow vs AEK Athens
Competition: UEFA Champions League Qualifying
Date: 2 August 2017
Kick-off: 19:00 CET
CSKA Moscow were either way the big favorites in this tie, but last week in Athens they made things look even easier for them. Goal from a set piece (corner kick) seconds before the end of the first half, goal from another set piece (again a corner kick) early in the second half, end of story. I doubt even they expected things to go that well for them in Athens. On Saturday they picked up an equally easy win at home over SKA Khabarovsk. They scored both their goals (2-0) in the first 35 minutes, and in the rest of the game they simply… managed the situation, avoiding stepping on it. Not that they would be in danger in the second leg against AEK if they got more tired on Saturday… This was their second win in three games in the new championship season in Russia, and a much-needed one after their 3-1 home defeat to Lokomotiv Moscow ten days ago.
Below average. The only way to better describe AEK in last week’s defeat to CSKA is by adding ‘way’ before ‘below average’… The Greek side had looked good in most of their summer friendly games, but when it mattered the most, they kind of… betrayed their own self. They fought hard in last season’s playoffs in the Greek Super League to finish first (in the playoffs alone; second overall, behind… eternal champions Olympiakos), they were after the dream to play in the group stage of the Champions League, but in practice, last week, they looked unworthy of making it even to the CL playoffs. The Greek league hasn’t started yet, so AEK had no match last weekend, more time for them to… reflect on their mistakes, especially in the two set pieces that led to CSKA’s goals.
CSKA Moscow vs AEK Athens: Head-to-head Stats
CSKA Moscow and AEK had never faced each other before last week’s match in Athens.
CSKA Moscow vs AEK Athens: Prediction
Betting on AEK to avoid losing pays so well (2.50) that under different circumstances it would look tempting, especially considering that CSKA have pretty much secured their qualification for the playoffs. ‘Under different circumstances’, I repeat, because after seeing how poor AEK looked at home last week, I find it impossible to back them to avoid defeat in Moscow. I expect the hosts to win.
CSKA Moscow vs AEK Athens: Tips
CSKA’s win pays just 1.45. Somehow, I expect AEK to score, mostly just to save some face, and most probably towards the end of the match. ‘CSKA to win and both teams to score’ is at 3.70.