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København beat Panathinaikos to claim top spot

Panathinaikos FC 0-2 FC København
Dame N'Doye and Martin Vingaard were on target as the visitors replaced FC Barcelona as the pacesetters in Group D.

København beat Panathinaikos to claim top spot
København beat Panathinaikos to claim top spot ©UEFA.com

FC København defeated ten-man Panathinaikos FC 2-0 in Athens to record their second successive victory in Group D and replace FC Barcelona as the section leaders.

Dame N'Doye, who spent the 2007/08 season with the Greek champions, fired FCK ahead in the 28th minute with Martin Vingaard adding a second from a free-kick nine minutes later. A frustrating night for Panathinaikos was rounded off when captain Gilberto Silva was dismissed after collecting a second yellow card in the 48th minute.

The result, coupled with Barcelona's 1-1 draw at FC Rubin Kazan, left the Danish club two points clear at top of the group ahead of their trip to Camp Nou on 20 October, when Panathinaikos will look for their first UEFA Champions League points at home to Rubin.

The Greens went into their first home match in need of a lift having gone down 5-1 at Barcelona a fortnight ago, and they started strongly with Djibril Cissé forcing a fine save from Johan Wiland from a dipping volley after just 30 seconds. Despite their early promise, it was the visitors who seemed more assured while Panathinaikos, with Gilberto operating in central defence in the absence of the injured Cédric Kanté, looked susceptible to a counterattack.

København went ahead from one such break. Jesper Grønkjær picked up the ball in his own half after a home attack was snuffed out, and supplied a sumptuous through ball for N'Doye, whose well-timed run left him clear of the hosts' rearguard. Panathinaikos goalkeeper Alexandros Tzorvas rushed out to close down the Senegalese striker but was beaten by a tidy finish from outside the box.

N'Doye was also involved in the second, winning a free-kick 20 metres from goal, although the strike was all about Vingaard as he drilled in the set-piece from a central position. Claudemir then passed up a great chance to make it 3-0 when he fired over following a neat passing move.

Panathinaikos coach Nikos Nioplias brought on Giorgos Karagounis and Nikos Spyropoulos at half-time but home hopes were dashed by Gilberto's red card soon after. København were able to further dictate the pace from then on, and could afford to hit the bar again while rarely being troubled at the other end.