Henk ten Cate began his reign as coach in earnest as Panathinaikos FC eased to a 3-0 UEFA Champions League qualifying win against FC Dinamo Tbilisi in front of a sizeable crowd in Athens.
Ninis sets tone
Teenage prodigy Sotiris Ninis set the tone with barely 20 seconds played, forcing visiting goalkeeper Didier Ovono into a save with a fierce drive from distance. The Dinamo Tbilisi No1 was finally beaten with 23 minutes played when Andreas Ivanschitz tucked in a pass from Dimitris Salpingidis. Provider would turn scorer a minute before the break, before Salpingidis also completed the victory in the 74th minute with another neat finish to cap a decent night's work for Ten Cate's men.
Austrian international Ivanschitz had already signalled his intent with a fifth-minute free-kick saved by Ovono before opening the scoring with his left foot. Having played a major role in that goal, Salpingidis drilled an effort against the crossbar on 40 minutes. The Greek international was not to be denied, though, and he was soon arriving near the penalty spot to convert Ivanschitz's cross from the left.
The Georgian champions refused to buckle, and would perhaps still be in contention going into next week's second leg on home soil had substitute Ilija Spasojevic not passed up two straightforward opportunities to halve the deficit on 51 and 71 minutes. Instead, it was the Greens who would strike again as Salpingidis collected the ball from an Ovono save and promptly dispatched it beyond the keeper.