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Mantzios out to finish job for Panathinaikos

Published: Tuesday 10 March 2009, 3.30CET
Panathinaikos FC striker Vangelis Mantzios has called on his side "to show the same passion and strength" as they did in the first meeting against Villarreal CF as they strive to reach their first quarter-final since 2001/02.
by Graham Wood
from Athens
Mantzios out to finish job for Panathinaikos
Vangelis Mantzios is back from injury ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics

PanathinaikosVillarreal

Goals scored10
 
13
Attempts on target38
 
61
Attempts off target44
 
60
Corners48
 
50
Offsides26
 
22
Fouls committed160
 
129
Yellow cards15
 
21
Red cards0
3
 
Published: Tuesday 10 March 2009, 3.30CET

Mantzios out to finish job for Panathinaikos

Panathinaikos FC striker Vangelis Mantzios has called on his side "to show the same passion and strength" as they did in the first meeting against Villarreal CF as they strive to reach their first quarter-final since 2001/02.

Panathinaikos FC striker Vangelis Mantzios hopes to lead from the front on his return from injury as the Greek side seek to progress to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals by seeing off Villarreal CF at the OACA Spiros Louis Stadium.

Full recovery
The 25-year-old put in a tireless display as the lone forward at El Madrigal when the teams played out an entertaining 1-1 first-leg draw two weeks ago, but has not featured since due to a problem with his right knee. Now rested and refreshed, Mantzios is "100 per cent ready" to assist Panathinaikos's attempt to sink the Yellow Submarine in Athens. "I've had a minor injury to my knee but I have fully recovered and it is absolutely fine," said Mantzios. "I've trained normally and I'm available for selection, but it's up to the coach whether I play or not."

Plaudits
With his combination of strength and close control, Mantzios has earned plenty of plaudits for his impressive form for the Greens in this competition. He has scored three goals already and was denied a fourth by the brilliance of Villarreal goalkeeper Diego López following one particularly eye-catching drag-back and shot in Spain. Mantzios aims to repeat the trick on home soil, only finding the back of the net this time. "It would have been great to score a goal like that but it wasn't to be," the Greek international said. "Hopefully I can conjure up another great chance tomorrow and score. That would be perfect."

Passion and strength
Henk Ten Cate's men will have the backing of the majority of a 60,000 sell-out crowd as they strive to reach the last eight for the first time since 2001/02, when they fell to FC Barcelona. Mantzios, though, believes the balance of the tie is tipped toward the visitors. "For me, Villarreal are the favourites – they are a top team playing in one of the best leagues in the world," he explained. "They play modern, attacking football and always create openings so I expect a difficult night ahead. We don't have to change much from the way we played in Spain. What we need to do is show the same passion and strength, and play our game. If we do that then we have every chance to go through."

Last updated: 10/03/09 21.16CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/season=2009/matches/round=15277/match=302798/prematch/focus/index.html#mantzios+finish+panathinaikos

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