Standard sail past Panathinaikos
Thursday, March 18, 2010
R. Standard de Liège 1-0 Panathinaikos FC (agg: 4-1)
Dieudonné Mbokani's goal confirmed the worst for the Greens, condemning the visitors to a second defeat.
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Dieudonné Mbokani ensured there would be no way back for Panathinaikos FC, his strike just before half-time adding to R. Standard de Liege's 3-1 lead from the first leg of their UEFA Europa League round of 16 tie.
The Greens had Standard on the back foot for much of the game. Sinan Bolat made a decent save to keep out a Kostas Katsouranis header on 11 minutes and then a brilliant one to thwart the same player two minutes from the break. The midfielder pounced on a rebound when Giorgios Karagounis's free-kick was allowed to skid against a post, but the goalkeeper pushed his drive over the bar.
It was a lucky break for Standard, and one they exploited to the full deep into first-half added time. With the Panathinaikos defence mesmerised by a long punt forward, Mbokani toe-poked over the last man, controlled with his thigh and lanced a low shot past Alexandros Tzorvas to leave Nikos Nioplias's side needing three goals to force extra time
To their credit they never stopped trying; a scrambling Bolat managed to fend away Dimitris Salpingidis's goal-bound effort moments after Mbokani had an offside goal disallowed, and Sebastian Leto found the goalkeeper similarly alert from a long shot. Substitute Ante Rukavina caught Standard napping, but headed over as the Belgian side eased through to Friday's draw in Nyon.