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Polished Panathinaikos ease past Motherwell

Panathinaikos FC 3-0 Motherwell FC (agg: 5-0)
Always in control, the home side scored three second-half goals to confidently consolidate their place in the play-off round.

Lazaros Christodoulopoulos opened the scoring on 51 minutes
Lazaros Christodoulopoulos opened the scoring on 51 minutes ©Getty Images

Rarely troubled, Panathinaikos FC booked their place in Friday's UEFA Champions League play-off draw at the expense of Motherwell FC, thanks to a trio of second-half goals.

In energy-sapping conditions, the home side emerged after the break to pick off their opponents without breaking sweat. Lazaros Christodoulopoulos opened the scoring on 51 minutes, before strikes from Charis Mavrias and Ibrahim Sissoko confirmed an emphatic 5-0 aggregate victory.

Panathinaikos began with optimism and intent but failed to make their vibrancy count when Toché profited from a momentary lapse in Motherwell's defence and fired wide with the goal at his mercy. With temperatures soaring to over 30C inside the stadium, both sides lacked rhythm early on. And with chances at a premium, Nicky Law failed to make the most of time and space on 28 minutes when the midfielder's drive was comfortably held by Orestis Karnezis.

Panathinaikos found their pace after the interval and treated fans to a confident display of short, slick passing. They were soon rewarded for their play when Christodoulopoulos continued his fine form from the first leg and found the net with a curling free-kick, which gave Darren Randolph no chance. Ten minutes later, Randolph pulled off a fine save to deny Toché’s point-blank header.

But there was nothing the Motherwell goalkeeper could do to prevent Panathinaikos extending their lead 15 minutes from time, substitute Mavrias concluding a sweeping counterattack with a smart finish from inside the area. A third followed, Sissoko embarked on a buccaneering run, beguiling defenders and beating Randolph from close range.