Panathinaikos make last 16
Panathinaikos edged through to the Champions League knockout stages after a lacklustre 1-0 win over Anorthosis.
By Elliot Ball
Last Updated: 09/12/08 10:09pm
Panathinaikos edged through to the UEFA Champions League knockout stages after a lacklustre 1-0 win over Anorthosis.
Giorgos Karagounis' gift of a goal proved the difference as manager Henk Ten Cate got his birthday wish of a victory in front of a packed home crowd.
Panathinaikos were always in control of the Greek-Cypriot clash and they should have added more than the one goal at the Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium.
Anorthosis will rue a golden opportunity to take the lead in the first half as Temuri Ketsbaia's side finish bottom of the group and miss out on a Uefa Cup spot to add insult to injury.
Panathinaikos dominated the early proceedings and had the first chance of the match with just two minutes gone when Alexandros Tziolis headed over the bar after Lukas Vintra hung in a super cross on the right flank.
Greek international Karagounis was the brightest player on the park and he carved his first chance of the evening with five minutes gone.
After initially winning a free-kick, the Panathinaikos midfielder struck a curling effort which was destined for the top-left corner until Anorthosis keeper Arjan Beqaj managed to claw the ball over the bar.
Despite the home side's early superiority, it was Anorthosis who should have took the lead on 14 minutes after some slack play from the Panathinaikos midfield.
Winger Vincent Laban latched onto Nicos Nicolaou's through ball after the Anorthosis captain dispossessed Simao and Laban delivered a perfect left-footed cross into the path of Taher Hawar, but the lone-forward slipped as he made contact from six yards, and he sent his effort high, wide and not so handsome.
Panathinaikos responded to the close call by piling the pressure back onto the Anorthosis goal, with Simao hitting a speculative volley over after Karagounis' free-kick was cleared.
Panathinaikos keeper Mario Galinovic had to be on his toes on the half-hour when a sloppy back-pass from Nikolaos Spiropoulos nearly let Taher redeem his earlier miss.
Karagounis continually crept up in awkward positions and on 35 minutes, the 31-year-old darted between two players on the left side of the box and got a right-footed shot off, although the veteran could only find the side netting.
Vangelis Mantzios then came close for the home side just before the interval when he brought a smart stop from Beqaj after a left-footed low strike.
Anorthosis' substitute keeper Zoltan Nagy was brought into action early in the second half as he kept out Cleyton's low drive right of the goal.
Nagy continued to keep Panathinaikos at bay and looked relatively impressive in doing so - that was until the 69th minute when Anorthosis shot themselves in the foot.
When a Panathinaikos attack looked to have fizzled out, full-back Andreas Constantinou's abysmal pass found Karagounis and the striker's tame shot was somehow spilled by Nagy and the ball crept over the line.
The remaining 20 minutes died out with no Anorthosis fight back as Panathinaikos secured their third successive Champions League win - the first time they have managed such a feat in seven years.
|Panathinaikos||Team Statistics||Anorthosis Famagusta|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|6||Shots on Target||0|
|5||Shots off Target||5|