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AEK Athens
Europa League | Group Stage
Nov 30, 2023 at 5.45pm UK
OPAP Arena
Brighton logo
AEK Athens
0 - 1

Gacinovic (27'), Zuber (63')
Gacinovic (65')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Pedro (55' pen.)
Veltman (12')

Preview: AEK Athens vs. Brighton & Hove Albion - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between AEK Athens and Brighton & Hove Albion, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

AEK Athens and Brighton & Hove Albion will endeavour to boost their chances of reaching the Europa League knockout rounds when they lock horns at the Agia Sofia Stadium for their penultimate Group B fixture on Thursday.

The Seagulls will be seeking revenge against their Greek counterparts after suffering a 3-2 home defeat in the reverse fixture in September.

Match preview

AEK Athens' Djibril Sidibe celebrates scoring their first goal with Nordin Amrabat and Gerasimos Mitoglou on September 21, 2023© Reuters

After taking a surprise lead in Group B with four points accumulated in their opening two games, AEK Athens have since slipped to third following home and away losses to Marseille by an aggregate score of 5-1.

A 2-0 home defeat on matchday four allowed new leaders Marseille to consolidate their place in the top two along with Brighton, who sit three points clear of the Yellow-Blacks heading into a crucial encounter on Thursday.

Matias Almeyda's side have since returned to winning ways in the Greek Super League, with a 3-0 home victory over Lamia before the international break followed by a narrow 1-0 success away against Giannina on Sunday; back-to-back victories without reply has helped them move to within one point of league leaders Panathinaikos.

AEK Athens return to the Agia Sofia Stadium where they have not lost any of their last 11 games on the domestic front, but in the Europa League, they have failed to win any of their last 14 home matches – the longest winless home run by any club in the competition's history.

The Yellow-Blacks have also lost each of their last three home meetings with English clubs – losing to Nottingham Forest in 1978, Everton in 2009 and Leicester City in 2020 – but their impressive win over Brighton a few months ago will give Almeyda's men some hope of claiming a positive result on Thursday.

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Roberto De Zerbi celebrates after the match on November 25, 2023© Reuters

Brighton were aware of Nottingham Forest's impressive home record heading into Saturday's contest at the City Ground, but they managed to claim a 3-2 victory to end their six-game winless run in the Premier League.

An Evan Ferguson leveller was followed by two strikes from Joao Pedro either side of half time to put the Seagulls 3-1 in front, before Lewis Dunk was sent off for foul and abusive language after VAR intervened to award Forest a penalty, which Morgan Gibbs-White converted to set up a nervy finish for the visitors.

Roberto De Zerbi's depleted side eventually held on for a hard-fought victory, sparking pandemonium in the away end, and while the result keeps them in the chasing pack for a top-seven finish, it also represents their 17th in succession in which they have both scored and conceded – the longest run in Premier League history.

Brighton have already conceded 23 goals in the Premier League this season, the fourth-most in the division, but their excellent goalscoring form has somewhat papered over the cracks of their defensive frailties as they have found the net in 25 of their last 26 matches across all competitions, scoring at least twice on 15 occasions.

The Seagulls have also scored at least twice in all four Europa League group games this term, including two 2-0 wins home and away against Dutch giants Ajax in matchdays three and four.

Continuing their impressive goalscoring form against AEK Athens on Thursday would not only help Brighton in their quest to claim the victory that they need to qualify for the knockout rounds, but it would also see them become the first English club since Queens Park Rangers in 1976-77 to score multiple goals in their first five games in European competition.

AEK Athens Europa League form:

AEK Athens form (all competitions):

Brighton & Hove Albion Europa League form:

Brighton & Hove Albion form (all competitions):

Team News

Brighton & Hove Albion's Joao Pedro celebrates scoring their third goal with Evan Ferguson on November 25, 2023© Reuters

AEK Athens are set to be without Harold Moukoudi, Jens Jonsson and Levi Garcia as thy continue to recover from injuries that they sustained earlier this month.

However, the Greek side are able to welcome back first-choice goalkeeper Cican Stankovic after he served a one-match Europa League ban last time out, and he is expected to replace Giorgos Athanasiadis between the sticks.

Experienced Swiss attacker Steven Zuber – who has scored all five of his goals this season away from home, including his latest strike in last weekend's win over Giannina – could once again feature up front, but will face competition from Sergio Araujo and Ezequiel Ponce, the latter of whom scored the winner against Brighton in September.

As for Brighton, Ansu Fati and Tariq Lamptey are allegedly facing up to three months on the sidelines after picking up muscle injuries against Nottingham Forest, and the Seagulls duo will join Solly March, Julio Enciso (both knee), Danny Welbeck, Pervis Estupinan (both muscle) and Adam Webster (knock) in the treatment room.

Jan Paul van Hecke will miss Thursday's game due to suspension, but Kaoru Mitoma (knock), Igor Julio (ankle) and James Milner (muscle) all took part in training on Wednesday and could be involved in some capacity against AEK Athens.

Mahmoud Dahoud served the first of his three-game domestic ban last weekend, but he is available to play on Thursday and will likely start in centre-midfield, while captain Lewis Dunk is also available, despite his aforementioned red card against Forest, and he could start alongside Igor at centre-back.

Pascal Gross or Jack Hinshelwood could be forced to play at left-back in the absence of Lamptey and Estupinan, while Joao Pedro – who has scored four goals in as many Europa League games this season – will be pushing to start in attack alongside Ferguson.

AEK Athens possible starting lineup:
Stankovic; Sidibe, Vida, Mitoglou, Hajsafi; Szymanski; Amrabat, Mantalos, Pineda, Gacinovic; Zuber

Brighton & Hove Albion possible starting lineup:
Steele; Veltman, Dunk, Igor, Gross; Dahoud, Baleba; Adingra, Pedro, Buonanotte; Ferguson

SM words green background

We say: AEK Athens 1-2 Brighton & Hove Albion

AEK Athens' victory over Brighton two months ago was certainly a reality check for De Zerbi and co, but both teams have since experienced contrasting runs of form in Group B and another closely-fought contest could be in store on Thursday.

Brighton will be motivated by the prospect of securing European knockout football for the first time in their history with a win in Greece, and even though they are missing several injured stars, De Zerbi should have enough at his disposal to steer the Seagulls to maximum points.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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Brighton & Hove Albion's Lewis Dunk reacts after being shown a red card by referee Anthony Taylor on November 25, 2023
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Group A

QWest Ham650115
4Backa Topola60151

Group B

4AEK Athens61144

Group C

QSparta Prague631210
4Aris Limassol61144

Group D

QSporting Lisbon632111
3Sturm Graz61144

Group E

3Union SG62228

Group F

3M. Haifa61235

Group G

QSlavia Prague650115
4Sheriff Tiraspol60151

Group H

QB. Leverkusen660018

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