Asteras Tripolis camp surprised by Hibs’ first-leg comeback

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Asteras Tripolis manager Savvas Pantelidis admits he was taken aback by Hibs’ rousing comeback at Easter Road, but has backed his players to end the Capital side’s Europa League journey.

Goals from Efe Ambrose, David Gray and Flo Kamberi capped a memorable victory last week after a first half Giorgos Kyriakopoulos double left the hosts staring at a second qualifying round exit.

Asteras Tripolis boss Savvas Pantelidis knows his team will have to beat at their best against Hibs. Pic: SNS

Asteras Tripolis boss Savvas Pantelidis knows his team will have to beat at their best against Hibs. Pic: SNS

Tripolis will now aim to make home advantage count in Thursday’s clash at the Theodoros Kolokotronis stadium, but Pantelidis insists he is wary of the threat posed by Hibs.

He said: “I was surprised by the fact that they performed the way they did given they were two goals behind.

“This showed that we came up against a team that is really strong, they have mental toughness, they do not quit and they are capable of retaliating at anytime.

“I was actually expecting the performance that they showed in the second half.

“With regards to this game, we think we are ready for the challenge and although we know it will be very difficult, we have no fear.

“We had two completely different halves in Edinburgh and we want to perform the way we did in the first half.

“We have to be very good if we are going to get through to the next round.”

Tripolis goalkeeper Giorgos Athanasiadis, meanwhile, is confident of sealing an aggregate victory.

He said: “We believed before the first game that we would proceed and we still do, the issue is to have a clear mind for the match.

“There is no stress or pressure, we will just have to play our normal game.