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Karagounis gets Panathinaikos on track

FC Dinamo 1948 Bucureşti 0-1 Panathinaikos FC
A 79th minute goal by Giorgos Karagounis won the game after Claudiu Niculescu missed an 88th minute penalty for Dinamo.

Giorgos Karagounis (centre) takes the plaudits from team-mates in Bucharest
Giorgos Karagounis (centre) takes the plaudits from team-mates in Bucharest ©Getty Images

A 79th-minute strike by Giorgos Karagounis secured Panathinaikos FC the UEFA Europa League points after Claudiu Niculescu missed a penalty two minutes from time for the hosts in Group F.

Few chances
Having started their campaign with a 3-1 defeat by Galatasaray AŞ, Panathinaikos badly needed points on the board and Karagounis duly obliged with a late strike in a game of few chances. Though the hosts will certainly rue their late penalty miss, Dinamo are still very much in the mix ahead of Matchday 3 after having beaten SK Sturm Graz in their opener.

Greek rhythm
Panathinaikos were quick to settle into a neat passing rhythm, with Karagounis pulling the strings in central midfield and Sebastian Leto helping on the left flank as they probed a Romanian defence which kept striker Dimitris Salpingidis under wraps. Just before the break, Dinamo's Manuel Scarlatache curled over an inviting cross for Andrei Cristea but keeper Alexandros Tzorvas read the danger and was quickly out to intercept, while Salpingidis came agonisingly close to latching on to a loose ball in a goalmouth melée.

Salpingidis threat
The Greek striker came a lot closer 10 minutes into the second half after a clever move saw substitute Sotiris Ninis cross from the left and Kostas Katsouranis flick the ball back for Salpingidis to send in a rasping shot which Emilian Dolha did well to smother. The favour was returned soon afterwards, with Salpingidis drawing the keeper out of position on the right side before laying it off for Katsouranis to try his luck, only for Dolha to get back in time to scramble the ball away.

Late drama
A draw looked very much on the cards, only for Karagounis to rifle a shot home through the Dinamo defence from outside the area after the ball was laid off by substitute Ante Rukavina. There was more drama to come, though, after Mattias Bjärsmyr brought down Cristea in the area and substitute Niculescu, who had only been on the pitch for two minutes, sent the spot-kick wide of the left-hand post.