Panathinaikos FC advanced from Group G despite being held to a goalless draw by an AFC Rapid Bucuresti side whose own hopes of reaching the UEFA Cup knockout rounds are no longer in their hands.
The Greek club went into the game top of the section and they remain there even though they failed to break down a determined Rapid defence that lost Marius Constantin to a red card in the 85th minute. The Romanian challengers have finished with four points from four matches and need Panathinaikos to do them a favour when they travel to Paris Saint-Germain FC on 13 December if they are to stand a chance of emulating last season's run to the quarter-finals.
Panathinaikos's desire to maintain their perfect record manifested itself in a bright opening in which Evangelos Mantzios shot straight at visiting keeper Edel Bete from a promising position in the first minute. Bete had to be alert again in the 18th, doing well to hold Andreas Ivanschitz's powerful drive from ten metres. The closest either side got to a goal before half-time came in the 40th minute when Alexandros Tziolis curled in a free-kick that beat the wall and Bete, but not the post.
After the break, Razvan Lucescu's team looked to attack more and threatened with a Ianis Zicu strike from close range which brushed the woodwork. Rapid were now enjoying the majority of the play, but still the clearer opportunities fell to the Greens as Mantzios again called the busy Bete into action. The 20-year-old also denied Sotirios Leontiou twice and Tziolis before Constantin's late challenge on Dimitrios Salpingidis earned a second yellow card.
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