Panathinaikos FC cruised into the third round of the UEFA Cup 5-2 on aggregate with a 4-1 defeat of Fenerbahçe SK at the Apostolos Nikoladis stadium tonight.
Fenerbahçe no threat
Fenerbahçe offered little attacking threat and might have lost by more if not for poor finishing from Panathinaikos at the start of the second half. By then, however, the home side were already 3-1 up and on course for a place in the third round.
As in the previous leg, which was the first meeting between teams from Greece and Turkey in European club competition, the match got off to slow start and it was not until the 17th minute that either side produced a shot on target, Nikos Lyberopoulos firing straight at Rüstü Reçber in the Fenerbahçe goal.
Rüstü was at fault for Panathinaikos's opener on 24 minutes. Angelos Basinas directed a free-kick at goal from the left which the keeper could not hold, allowing Lyberopoulos to stab in from close range.
Goumas adds second
With Fenerbahçe failing to make a mark on the game, the tie seemed over as a contest when Giannis Goumas headed in Basinas's corner from the left seven minutes later to double his side's advantage. Rüstü came for the cross but missed the ball entirely to gift Goumas his chance.
Against the run of play, the visiting side worked their way back into the match on 37 minutes with their first shot on target. Miroslav Stevic chipped a free-kick into the box and Tuncay Sanli touched it past Antonios Nikopolidis from seven metres.
Michaelsen restores order
But Fenerbahçe's joy was short-lived. Two minutes before the break Jan Michaelsen was picked out on the edge of the area and he released a thunderous first-time drive that this time left Rüstü no chance.
String of misses
Panathinaikos were soon back on the attack after the restart and should have added to their lead. First Lyberopoulos teed up Michaelsen on the edge of the area but his shot was deflected just wide. Giourkas Seitaridis also shot narrowly wide then Emmanuel Olisadebe brought a save from Rüstü after a jinking run into the box. Within the space of two minutes Lyberopoulos also contrived to miss two good chances.
The Turkish side, however, never looked like getting back into the tie and substitute Krzysztof Warzycha gave the scoreline a more realistic look with Panathinaikos's fourth in the final minute.
'State of mind'
Panathinaikos coach Sergio Markarian was delighted with the way his side approached the match. "Football is above all a state of mind, and today my players played very passionately and with their hearts," he said.
Fenerbahçe coach Werner Lorant was at loss to explain his side's capitulation. "We were very passive and made too many mistakes as a team and as individuals," he said.
Lorant takes the blame
Most guilty of all was Rüstü, but Lorant refused to single out his keeper for blame. "Instead of passing judgment we should stand by him," he said. "I assume responsibility for this loss."