BY STEVE MITCHELL
FOREST EASE INTO THE LAST EIGHT OF THE EUROPEAN CUP AFTER CONVINCING WIN OVER AEK:
Leading 2-1 from the first-leg in Greece two weeks ago, Nottingham Forest ensured a safe passage into the quarter-finals of the European Cup with a comprehensive 5-1 win at the City Ground last night (7-2 on aggregate) against AEK Athens.
In front of another full-house in the East Midlands, Forest â€“ who were without captain John McGovern and central defender Kenny Burns â€“ took just eight minutes to extend their aggregate lead when a Garry Birtles effort was turned behind for a corner. From the resulting flag kick, David Needhamâ€™s flying header left AEK keeper Nikolas Christidis helpless, to effectively put the tie to bed.
In the space of three minutes just after the half-hour mark, Forestâ€™s dominance of the tie was forced home thanks to goals from Tony Woodcock (after more sorcery from John Robertson on the left wing) and Viv Anderson, whoâ€™s beautifully struck right-foot effort, left Christidis flapping once again.
The only downside of the opening 45 minutes for Brian Cloughâ€™s men was an injury to full-back Frank Clark on the stroke of half-time; young Gary Mills coming on to deputise. With the visitors now playing for pride in the second-half, striker DuÅ¡an BajeviÄ‡ reduced the arrears on 50 minutes after outjumping the Forest defence to leave England goalkeeper Peter Shilton stranded on his line.
That goal stung the hosts back into life with young striker Garry Birtles, who has shot to stardom with some impressive performances in Europe, scoring twice inside six minutes to put added gloss on the victory; his first coming courtesy of an Archie Gemmill cross which was headed into his path by Needham. His second from a corner after Robertsonâ€™s effort was tipped onto the crossbar by Christidis; Birtles nipping in to head home although replays showed that the final touch looked to have come off an AEK defender.
The visitors, to their credit, continued to press for another consolation goal as Forest went into cruise control as their minds started to turn towards the quarter-finals. Cloughâ€™s men will fancy their chances of progressing even further in their first ever European Cup adventure but will probably want to avoid a potential â€œBattle of Britainâ€ encounter with Rangers.
Nottingham Forest: Shilton, Anderson, Clark (Mills 43), Oâ€™Hare, Lloyd (C), Needham, Bowyer, Gemmill, Birtles, Woodcock, Robertson
AEK Athens: Christidis, Mousouris, Intzoglou, Ravousis, Nikolaou (C), Domazos, Constantinou, Nikoloudis, Bajevic, Ardizoglou, Mavros
EUROPEAN CUP â€“ SECOND ROUND SECOND-LEG
PSV Eindhoven 2-3 Rangers (Lubse, Deijkers; MacDonald, Johnstone, Russell) â€“ Agg 2-3
CUP-WINNERS-CUP â€“ SECOND ROUND SECOND-LEG
Aberdeen 2-0 Fortuna Dusseldorf (McLelland, Jarvie) â€“ Agg 2-3
SW Innsbruck 1-1 Ipswich Town (Oberacher; Burley) â€“ Agg 1-2
UEFA CUP â€“ SECOND ROUND SECOND-LEG
Arsenal 1-0 Hajduk Split (Young) â€“ Agg 2-2 (Arsenal win on away goals)
Dukla Prague 1-0 Everton (Gajdusek) â€“ Agg 2-2 (Dukla Prague win on away goals) (full match programme below)
Hibernian 1-0 Strasbourg (McLeod pen) â€“ Agg 1-2
Standard Liege 2-0 Manchester City (Sigurvinsson 2, 1 pen) â€“ Agg 2-4
W.B.A. 1-0 Sporting Braga (Brown A) â€“ Agg 3-0
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