RC Lens progressed to the last 16 of the UEFA Cup at the expense of ten-man Panathinaikos FC as the French side's 3-1 first-leg lead proved decisive following a goalless draw in Athens.
Francis Gillot's team held firm against their Greek hosts who, despite long spells of possession, grew increasingly frustrated and ended the night a man down after Nasief Morris's dismissal for a lunge at Daniel Cousin. Lens's reward is a Round of 16 tie against German outfit Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
In a first half short on chances, the home side's Dimitrios Salpingidis wasted a golden opportunity on 25 minutes. After pouncing on a poor clearance, he beat goalkeeper Charles Itandje with his shot only to see the ball cleared off the line. Panathinaikos stepped up a gear after the break, however, impressing with their work down the flanks where 16-year-old sensation Sotirios Ninis and Austrian international Andreas Ivanschitz caught the eye.
Woodwork denies Tziolis
Ninis constantly probed and teased the Lens defence while the industrious Ivanschitz came close to making the breakthrough on 66 minutes, his free-kick being tipped around the post by Itandje. Sidi Keita then fired over from a rare Lens attack before Panathinaikos were denied by the woodwork as Alexandros Tziolis headed against the bar. With ten minutes remaining, though, the hosts' hopes finally vanished as South African Morris was sent off for bringing down Cousin as he raced through on goal.