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Panathinaikos obstacle for Atlético

Published: Wednesday 19 August 2009, 8.07CET
Panathinaikos FC coach Henk ten Cate has warned his players against neglecting their defensive duties when they meet Abel Resino's Club Atlético de Madrid in their play-off first leg in Athens.
Panathinaikos obstacle for Atlético
Panathinaikos edged out AC Sparta Praha in the third qualifying round ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics


Goals scored6
Attempts on target29
Attempts off target6
Fouls committed50
Yellow cards11
Red cards1
Published: Wednesday 19 August 2009, 8.07CET

Panathinaikos obstacle for Atlético

Panathinaikos FC coach Henk ten Cate has warned his players against neglecting their defensive duties when they meet Abel Resino's Club Atlético de Madrid in their play-off first leg in Athens.

Vastly experienced at navigating a route through UEFA Champions League qualifying, Panathinaikos FC will need to be at their best to deny play-off round rivals Club Atlético de Madrid a group-stage place.

Henk ten Cate, Panathinaikos coach
Atlético are a very good side, with quality players performing in a very competitive league – it will be tough for us but I believe every team have a chance to qualify and I trust in my players and their ability. With their pace and Sergio Agüero, Diego Forlán, Maxi Rodríguez and Simão, Atlético are dangerous away from home and it's very important for us to avoid conceding. We will try to attack with intelligence, without neglecting our defence – I would prefer to win but wouldn't mind a goalless draw.

Abel Resino, Atlético coach
This is a very important tie for the players, the club and the fans of Atlético. I expect the match to be intense, with lots of pressing from both sides. Panathinaikos have Kostas Katsouranis and Giorgos Karagounis in midfield, players with lots of presence, and they usually play counterattacking football. They will press from the first minute, aided by their fans, but we must keep in mind that football is eleven versus eleven and not be overawed by the atmosphere. My players could even be motivated by it.

Key stats
• The teams' most recent meeting came in the group stage of the 2007/08 UEFA Cup which Atlético won 2-1 in the Spanish capital. With both sides already through to the Round of 32, Panathinaikos took a first-half lead through Dimitris Salpingidis only to be pegged back with 16 minutes remaining when Luís García equalised. Atlético were reduced to ten men following Raúl García's 81st-minute dismissal, but deep into stoppage time Simão struck from a free-kick.

• Panathinaikos's participation in last year's UEFA Champions League was ended by Spanish opposition, Villarreal CF triumphing in the first knockout round. The two teams drew 1-1 in Spain before the Yellow Submarine prevailed 2-1 in Greece.

• That was the Greens' first home loss to a Spanish club, taking their record on their own turf to three wins, five draws and one defeat.

• Atlético have yet to triumph in Greece, having recorded two draws and two defeats on four previous visits.

• They have tasted victory in two of four two-legged ties with Greek teams – the most recent a 9-6 aggregate win over PAOK FC in the 1997/98 UEFA Cup. OFI Crete FC proved too strong in the 1993/94 UEFA Cup, by contrast, as did Panionios GSS in the same tournament in 1971/72.

How they reached the play-offs
• Third in the Greek Super League last term, Panathinaikos topped a four-team play-off tournament to book a third qualifying round berth. There they staged a dramatic 3-0 second-leg victory over AC Sparta Praha to win 4-3 on aggregate. José Sarriegi, Kostas Katsouranis and Dimitris Salpingidis all struck in Athens.

• Los Colchoneros finished fourth in the 2008/09 Spanish Liga to enter the play-off round and are aiming to reach the group stage for a third time. They defeated FC Schalke 04 in their only previous tilt at qualifying last season.

Team news
Injured: Cédric Canté (knee)
Suspended: José Sarriegui
Misses next match if booked: Djibril Cissé, Gabriel

Injured: Mariano Pernía (broken collarbone), Ignacio Camacho (hip)
Suspended: none
Misses next match if booked: none

Did you know?
Panathinaikos midfielder Gilberto and Atlético forward José Antonio Reyes were Arsenal FC team-mates from 2004-07, while Greens striker Cissé and Atlético forward Florent Sinama-Pongolle were at Liverpool FC between 2004 and 2006.

Last updated: 19/08/09 21.24CET