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Late Estoril equaliser punishes Panathinaikos

Panathinaikos FC 1-1 Estoril Praia
The Greek outfit lived to regret several missed opportunities, as Kléber's late volley wiped out Nikos Karelis's strike.

Kléber's volley earned a late draw for Estoril
Kléber's volley earned a late draw for Estoril ©AFP/Getty Images

• Estoril cement third place in Group E after late Kléber leveller
• Nikos Karelis grabs opener for Panthinaikos, but hits upright twice
Luke Steele gives eye-catching display in goal for The Greens
• Round of 32 draw takes place in Nyon at 13.00CET on 15 December

Estoril Praia finished third in UEFA Europa league Group E after substitute Kléber's brilliant late equaliser denied Panathinaikos FC a first win of the campaign.

Torrential rain ensured a cautious start, and the first time either goalkeeper was called into action was on 35 minutes, as former Manchester United FC youth custodian Luke Steele gave his best Peter Schmeichel impression to block Estoril's Arthuro.

That sparked an immediate Panathinaikos riposte. Estoril keeper Vagner denied Nikos Karelis at his near post before producing a wonderful low, one-handed save to turn away Giorgos Koutroumpis' close-range volley. Estoril hearts beat a little faster on the cusp of half-time, when Karelis burst clear only to be denied by the base of the left upright.

Panathinaikos took the lead ten minutes after the interval in the simplest fashion. Thanasis Dinas had all the time in the world to thread a pass to Karelis, offering him a routine close-range finish.

An unmarked Karelis was guilty of spurning another golden chance at the back post moments later, somehow hitting the frame of the goal after another impeccable Dinas pass.

Estoril shored up their defence, venturing forward as the match wore on, and made late pressure count in between two stunning reaction saves by Steele. The tee-up for Kléber's sublime equaliser had a touch of the accidental about it, as he inadvertently flicked the ball over his marker, but the top-corner volleyed finish was of the highest calibre.