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Dundee Utd fans only at behind closed doors Greek tie

Dundee United will face AEK Athens in their Europa League tie at the home of Olympiakos, but with Greek fans excluded. The Tangerines flew out to Greece not knowing the venue for the play-off second leg, after vandals attacked the Nea Smyrni stadium - home of Panionios - overnight in protest to their rivals playing there.

AEK had been originally forced to move from the Olympic Stadium because of a damaged pitch so faced having nowhere to play the match and exclusion from the tournament until a solution was found with their fiercest rivals.

Because of crowd concerns, AEK fans are banned from attending so it will be just United's 500-strong support inside the Karaiskaki Stadium as the Tayside club seek to overturn a 1-0 deficit.

A United statement read: "UEFA have confirmed that the Europa League game v AEK Athens will take place at the stadium of Olympiakos FC."

United boss Peter Houston insists the change of venue will not affect his players and is more concerned about the baking heat.

He said: "AEK are a quality side and if the stadium is full or it is empty doesn't matter.

"As far as the football side is concerned they are still the top class team we saw last week.

"The heat is obviously a factor. As soon as we landed you could feel it and even though the game is a 9pm kick-off it will still be very hot.

"So we'll have to make sure that the players have plenty of water available. When Scottish players go into these conditions it's always a bit harder."

A UEFA spokesman said: "We wouldn't allow the game to go ahead if we hadn't received full assurances from the local authorities and police guaranteeing the safety of United fans.

"After the incident with the Panionios fans, it was decided it would be best if there was no Greek fans at Olympiakos' ground to ensure there is no chance of a similar situation.

"The match could have been played behind closed doors but that would have been unfair to the United fans."

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