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Panathinaikos ease past Roma

AS Roma 2-3 Panathinaikos FC (agg: 4-6)
The visitors scored three times in a devastating six-minute spell at the end of the first half to progress to the round of 16.

Panathinaikos ease past Roma
Panathinaikos ease past Roma ©UEFA.com

Two goals from Djibril Cissé and one from Sotiris Ninis earned Panathinaikos FC a second successive 3-2 victory against AS Roma and a place in the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League.

All three goals from the visitors came in a six-minute spell at the end of the first half after John Arne Riise had given Roma an early lead. Ninis was at the heart of it all. Tripped for Cissé's goal from the penalty spot, he then drilled in his own from 20 metres before releasing the Frenchman to settle the contest before the break. Daniele De Rossi's 67th-minute tap-in ended the scoring while Kostas Katsouranis saw red late on.

Cissé, the scorer of the Greens' late winner in Athens, had a glorious early chance but could only poke tamely wide after ghosting in to meet Ninis's delicious centre. The home side responded initially through Mirko Vučinić, who dribbled past four players before firing too close to Alexandros Tzorvas. Then, on 11 minutes, a free-kick was touched to Riise and the Norwegian fired it in left-footed with the aid of a deflection.

Up on aggregate now, the home side appeared to relax and Panathinaikos took advantage in devastating fashion. First Cissé coolly slotted in a penalty after De Rossi had clipped Ninis. Three minutes later the dangerous Ninis, 19, spun and shot brilliantly across Doni and into the far corner. With Roma stunned, the two scorers combined again as Ninis sent Cissé clear and the in-form No9 rounded Doni before finishing from a tight angle.

Roma laid siege. Tzorvas saved twice from Alessio Cerci before De Rossi brought brief hope by tapping in Riise's saved effort for 3-2 on 67 minutes. But, with three more goals needed, it was too little and the Greens marched to the next round, where they will face R. Standard de Liège.

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