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Pellegrini puzzled by Panathinaikos escape

Villarreal CF coach Manuel Pellegrini was left frustrated after his side were held to a 'very unfair draw' by Panathinaikos FC, and even counterpart Henk Ten Cate admitted his charges rode their luck at times in Spain.

Diego Godín (left) vies with Panathinaikos's Vangelis Mantzios
Diego Godín (left) vies with Panathinaikos's Vangelis Mantzios ©Getty Images

Villarreal CF coach Manuel Pellegrini was frustrated that his side spurned a litany of chances as Panathinaikos FC escaped with a 'very unfair draw' in their first leg of their UEFA Champions League knockout tie at El Madrigal. His opposite number Henk Ten Cate admitted his charges rode their luck but is upbeat about their chances despite watching Giorgos Karagounis's fine second-half strike cancelled out by Giuseppe Rossi's penalty.

Manuel Pellegrini, Villarreal coach
It's a very unfair draw. We played well enough to earn a two-goal advantage but they found a goal they didn't deserve. The tie is still open. We have to go to Greece and win; I'm sure we will go through. We have shown this season that we play better away from home. Panathinaikos were very defensive, virtually playing with six defenders and two players ahead of them, yet they got a good result while we failed to convert our opportunities. I congratulate my players for the big game they played, especially in the first half. Now we have to give them confidence that we can win in Athens and qualify. Our support for that? We saw it on the pitch today.

Henk Ten Cate, Panathinaikos coach
It is a very good result for us. We scored away, which is always important. It was a match of contrasts: We were very lucky in many instances and unlucky with the penalty. When you play against Villarreal, one of the best teams in Spain in the last four or five years, you have to take this as a good result. The world of football is strange sometimes so the best side does not always win. Karagounis is a great player – very intelligent. He has a lot of experience in these types of games and is always one of our better players. Villarreal have more quality than us but with work and determination you can get good results. Now we have to make the most of home advantage. After that game we can evaluate if our approach tonight was successful.