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Pedro purring as Barcelona march on

Pedro Rodríguez hailed an important win after scoring twice in a 3-0 triumph at Panathinaikos FC that helped FC Barcelona secure top spot in Group D and a place in the last 16.

Pedro Rodríguez struck twice for Barcelona in Athens
Pedro Rodríguez struck twice for Barcelona in Athens ©Getty Images

FC Barcelona match-winner Pedro Rodríguez basked in the joy of helping the Blaugrana overcome Panathinaikos FC 3-0 in Athens to secure top spot in Group D and a place in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.

The 23-year-old Spain forward broke the deadlock at the OACA Spiros Louis Stadium with a clinical first-half strike and netted again with another neat finish from close range after Lionel Messi had doubled the lead. It sealed a first win for Barcelona over Panathinaikos on Greek soil at the third attempt.

"It is very difficult to win against Panathinaikos in Athens in front of their fans," said Pedro. "We have managed to do that and take first place in the group, which is very important. We had not won away from home in a while."

After Djibril Cissé had missed an early chance for Panathinaikos, Josep Guardiola's side dominated for long spells, controlling 78% of possession at one stage. Despite the nature of the performance and the ease with which they claimed the points, Pedro refused to get carried away.

"It's far too early to talk about winning the Champions League," he said, adding that the three-time European Champion Clubs' Cup winners were not thinking further ahead than Monday's Spanish Liga showdown with Real Madrid CF. "We want to get the win and make our supporters proud," he said. "It will be difficult but we believe in ourselves and we can do it."

For Panathinaikos, newly appointed captain Cissé was happy with the Greens' display despite having lost coach Jesualdo Ferreira's first game at the helm. "We were more organised and more aggressive in attack than we have been of late," said the forward. "If we had scored first then we might have been able to change the game. For me, Barcelona are the best team in the world. We now have to concentrate on the Greek championship."

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