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Panathinaikos in final push for last 16

Successes away from home in their last two games have put Panathinaikos FC in the driving seat for the one remaining qualifying place in Group B and a draw against Anorthosis Famagusta FC would be enough to progress.

Anorthosis got the better of Panathinaikos in their first meeting
Anorthosis got the better of Panathinaikos in their first meeting ©Getty Images

Two excellent away victories have made Panathinaikos FC favourites to take the one remaining qualifying place in Group B after FC Internazionale Milano confirmed their progress on Matchday 5. And the Greek side can secure a knockout round berth for the first time since the 2001/02 campaign if they avoid defeat against Anorthosis Famagusta FC.

• For the Cypriot club the potential rewards from this game are just as great. A win would take them through to the next phase – as group winners if Inter stumble away to Werder Bremen – which would represent a magnificent achievement for a team making their debut in the UEFA Champions League group stage.

• Panathinaikos have put themselves in this enticing situation following a splendid victory at Inter two weeks ago. José Sarriegi turned the ball in from close range following a corner in the second half to stun San Siro. Henk ten Cate's visitors then survived a frantic spell of late Inter pressure to claim a second successive away win.

• Two weeks previously – and with just one point to show from their first three fixtures – Panathinaikos had upset the odds by winning 3-0 in Germany against Bremen. Vangelis Mantzios opened the scoring just before the hour with Giorgos Karagounis registering his first UEFA Champions League goal in over six-and-a-half years to make it 2-0. The third came seven minutes from time when Petri Pasanen turned a Alexandros Tziolis drive into his own net. That was Panathinaikos' first win on their travels in the competition since December 2003 – ending a sequence of seven games which had yielded five defeats and two draws.

• The Matchday 5 win put Panathinaikos a point behind Italian champions Inter. In their previous home games they had started their campaign with a 2-0 defeat against the same opponents and then battle out a 2-2 draw with Bremen. Following Per Mertesacker's opener for the German side, two superb headers from Mantzios either side of half-time set Panathinaikos up for victory but Hugo Almeida's late equaliser thwarted them.

• The away game with Anorthosis on Matchday 2 proved difficult for the Athens side as they went two down in the first 15 minutes, a Sarriegi own goal and a Siniša Dobrašinović header putting them on the back foot. Dimitris Salpingidis reduced arrears from the spot but Iraqi substitute Hawar Taher put the result beyond doubt.

• On 26 November the Cypriot champions' hopes of consolidating second spot in Group B evaporated in Nicosia as they let slip a two-goal lead against Bremen. All the goals came in the second half with Nikos Nikolaou and Sávio firing Anorthosis ahead before goals in the final 18 minutes from Diego and Hugo Almeida rescued Bremen.

• Anorthosis' away games in Group B began with a 0-0 draw at Bremen on their UEFA Champions League debut. Matchday 3 took them to San Siro where Temuri Ketsbaia's men appeared to be weathering the first-half storm when Adriano struck, his header proving enough to earn a narrow win for the Milan team.

• Before this season the Athens club had only played one tie against a Cypriot side in UEFA club competition. That was in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup first round in 1988/89 when they overcame AC Omonia 2-0 at home after a 1-0 win away.

• In the third qualifying round for this season's group stage, Anorthosis faced Panathinaikos' fierce rivals Olympiacos CFP and went through 3-1 on aggregate, losing 1-0 away after a decisive victory in the home leg. Lukasz Sosin and Vincent Laban found the net in Cyprus with an own goal completing the scoring.

• It was the second occasion the Cypriot champions had been drawn with Olympiacos after they lost 6-3 on aggregate to the Piraeus giants in the 1998/99 UEFA Champions League second qualifying round, going down 2-1 in the away leg. More recently, Anorthosis lost 4-2 at Iraklis FC in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup but went through on away goals following a 3-1 home win.

• Defender Traianos Dellas, a summer signing by Anorthosis from AEK Athens FC, was part of Greece's UEFA EURO 2004™-winning squad alongside Panathinaikos pair Giannis Goumas and Giorgos Karagounis.

• The draw for the UEFA Champions League first knockout round will take place at 12.00CET on Friday 19 December at UEFA's headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland. Group winners will be paired against runners-up from different sections with the second-placed teams playing the first leg at home. Clubs from the same associations cannot be drawn together.