AEK Athens vs Brighton prediction, odds, betting tips and best bets for Europa League group-stage match

Premier League side Brighton & Hove Albion can exact revenge on AEK Athens for handing them their first ever European defeat when they visit the Agia Sophia Stadium in the penultimate round of games in Group B on Thursday.

AEK’s impressive 3-2 victory in Brighton on the opening matchday proved their only victory from their first four games, with successive defeats to Marseille putting them on the brink of being out of contention to stay in the competition by finishing in the top two.

Brighton can guarantee their place in the knockout stage with a draw, giving AEK all the more incentive to beat the Seagulls again in a setting where they have not lost in the Greek Super League this season.

Should they earn the result they need, the reigning Greek champions will rise above Albion on head-to-head record and set up a potentially thrilling final matchday, when Brighton host Marseille — the current group leaders by a point — and AEK visit Ajax, who still have a chance of progressing despite collecting only two points so far.

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AEK’s hopes will depend upon improving their record against English teams. Before beating Brighton, they had lost their previous six matches against clubs from the nation, and their home record against such opposition is four defeats from six games, winning the other two.

Even in the event of defeat, both teams will be in a strong position to continue their European seasons because third place in the group stage leads to a continued campaign in the Europa Conference League.

AEK vs Brighton match facts

  • Date: Thursday, November 30, 2023
  • Kickoff Time: 7.45 p.m. local (12.45 p.m. ET / 5.45 p.m. GMT)
  • Location: Agia Sophia Stadium (Athens, Greece)
  • Last meeting: Brighton 2-3 AEK (September 21, 2023)

AEK Athens vs Brighton prediction, odds

  • Full-time result: Draw (+275)
  • Score prediction: AEK 2-2 Brighton (+1000)

AEK are not considered quite as large underdogs as they were when bookmakers deemed them long outsiders to win at the AMEX Stadium, but Brighton remain odds-on for victory, partly reflecting their strong performances in their successive 2-0 wins over Ajax.

How indicative of future form those results are is questionable, as Ajax have made one of the poorest starts to a season in the Dutch giants’ history and offered little resistance in either match, coming with the club in a state of transition because of a managerial change.

While the quality of teams in the Greek top flight is not comparable to the Premier League, AEK are unbeaten at home domestically this season, including two games against two visitors with whom they formed a four-team runaway group after four games, drawing 1-1 with Olympiacos and beating PAOK 2-0.

Their top scorer after 12 games, Steven Zuber — a winger — netted for the fourth time this season with the only goal of the game in their win at Giannina on Sunday, and their hopes of troubling Brighton as much as they did in September may be hindered by the involvement of Lewis Dunk, the Albion captain and centre-back who was injured for the first game.

Discounting the Carabao Cup, Brighton have scored in each of their past 25 games on a run stretching back to their FA Cup defeat to Manchester United in April, so they can almost certainly be relied upon to find the net.

With a reasonably long injury list including several defenders and the demands of European competition taking a certain toll on them, the visitors would almost certainly settle for a draw. Just don’t expect them to abandon their usual adventurous style.

  AEK
win
Draw BHA
win
Both teams
to score Y / N
Over / Under
2.5 goals
DraftKings +255 +310 -110 -170, +130 -160, +125

AEK Athens vs Brighton best bet

  • Pick: Joao Pedro first goalscorer
  • Odds: +500 (DraftKings)

It has been quite the month so far for Joao Pedro, who made his Brazil debut as a replacement for Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr in a World Cup qualifier and scored twice in Brighton’s drama-dense 3-2 win at Nottingham Forest in the Premier League on Saturday.

The £30 million ($37.8m) signing from Watford in August is the joint-top scorer in the Europa League before Matchday 5, two of his four goals coming from the spot against AEK.

After putting them ahead for the first time with an emphatic, precisely-placed header, he scored another nerveless spot kick to make it 3-1 against Forest, and his perfect penalty record for Albion so far adds to his chances of scoring first here.

Ansu Fati has been a constant starter in the Europa League and scored the opener in the win at Ajax, but the on-loan Barcelona forward left the field injured during the first half against Forest, potentially making Brighton even more reliant on Joao Pedro against AEK.

Joao Pedro’s six touches in the opposition box represented two more than any other Brighton player at Ajax, with only midfielders Pascal Gross and Billy Gilmour touching the ball more times overall.

Manager Roberto De Zerbi’s team selections are consistently unpredictable but Joao Pedro has been in three of his four Europa League starting lineups, with the game in Amsterdam the only time he has not found the net.

Kaoru Mitoma: Back Japan star to score anytime

It feels like a matter of time before Mitoma ends his ongoing wait of almost two months for a goal involvement, although it is worth keeping an eye on De Zerbi’s pre-match press conference for any updates after the Japan winger missed his first game of the season against Forest. He had trained with the squad in the build-up to the game, so the issue may not be serious.

Despite only playing the second half against Sheffield United in Brighton’s 1-1 draw immediately before the international break, the Japan winger was the only player apart from Fati to have two shots on goal, one of which was accurate.

The chances of Mitoma testing goalkeepers are such that odds compilers now offer a short, dissuading price on him hitting the target with at least one attempt per match.

MORE: Kaoru Mitoma can break the mould for Japanese football

Only Simon Adingra, who played for 90 minutes, had more touches than the six Mitoma had in the Blades’ box, and Mitoma, Fati, Adingra and Joao Pedro shared Albion’s eight shots at Ajax equally while also being the only Brighton players with expected goals figures.

Since his first Premier League start last October, Mitoma has progressed the ball further upfield with his ball carries than any other non-defender (4,856 metres) and is second overall to Dunk (4,974m).

Mitoma has played all but four minutes of Brighton’s European campaign, setting up Pascal Gross’ goal to put them on their way to a comeback 2-2 draw at Marseille. He has every chance of opening his Europa League account against opponents who have conceded eight times in four group-stage matches.

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