A day after earning a Caltex Socceroos recall, striker Apostolos Giannou has put in a man-of-the-match performance to send his club into the UEFA Europa League.
After the first leg against Slovakian outfit Trencin ended 1-1, Giannou bagged a brace as his AEK Larnaca won 3-0 on Friday morning (AEST) to advance to the UEFA Europa League group stage.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Sainsbury's PSV to face Messi's Barcelona
Giannou opened the scoring inside the first minute, getting on the end of a clever pass in behind the defence before shooting low across the keeper into the far corner.
Acoran Reyes doubled the lead for the Cypriots before the break, with Giannou then icing the result with his second midway through the second half.
The 28-year-old was in the right place at the right time to head in from close range to round out a huge night for the club.
Giannou will be joined in the draw for the group stage by a few of other Aussies, including Caltex Socceroos keeper Danny Vukovic.
Despite conceding twice away from home against Danish side Brondby, Vukovic’s Genk won 4-2 on the night to advance 9-4 on aggregate.
Tom Rogic’s Celtic are also through following a convincing 3-0 win over Suduva in Glasgow, wrapping up a 4-1 aggregate win.
Rogic was an unused substitute for the Hoops ahead of their Old Firm Derby against Steven Gerrard’s Rangers this weekend.
Left-back Alex Gersbach watched from the bench as his Rosenborg won 2-0 over Shkendija in Macedonia, progressing with a 5-2 aggregate win.
CONFIRMED: Caltex Socceroos lock-in clash with Lebanon
FRESH FACES: The bolters in Arnold's first Caltex Socceroos squad
But there was disappointment for Awer Mabil, with his FC Midtjylland losing 2-0 at home against Swedish club Malmo.
Mabil, who earned a call-up to Graham Arnold’s 31-man squad for a training camp in Turkey next week, came on for the last 15 minutes of the defeat, which saw the Danish club lose 4-2 on aggregate.
The draw for the Europa League group stage will be held on Saturday morning (AEST).
Meanwhile, Caltex Socceroos goalkeeper Brad Jones has made a winning start to the season for Al-Nassr as the Saudi Pro League got underway.
Al-Nassr won 2-1 on the road against Ohod, with Moroccan Nordin Amarabat coming off the bench to score a 96th-minute winner.
Harry Kewell inducted into Sport Australia Hall of Fame
With 52,000 fans watching on in Stuttgart and millions on TV sets at home, a cool-headed Harry Kewell latched onto a deep cross before swiping it into the net to send the Socceroos into the knock-out stage of a World Cup for the first time. This moment of brilliance against Cr
'I've taken my game to the next level': Connor Chapman on a career-changing time in Korea
Would your 22-year-old self be brave enough to leave home and start a new life in Korea Republic? That’s exactly the path Connor Chapman took in a quest to take his game to the next level. And almost two years on his life-changing move, the Aussie boy is taking one of Asia’
When are your Caltex Socceroos in action this weekend?
Mathew Leckie could win his first minutes of the season this weekend after shaking off an injury problem to get back out on the track for Hertha Berlin. Meanwhile, there's another big Premier League test in store for Mathew Ryan, while fierce rivalries are set to play out acro
YOUR SAY: Fans decide Tim Cahill's best Caltex Socceroos moment
Australian football fans have had their say and now Tim Cahill's greatest Caltex Socceroos moment can be revealed. LEGEND: Cahill to get Caltex Socceroos send-off in Lebanon game DON'T MISS OUT: Be there when we farewell a legend Ahead of his farewell to international foot