Greeks gain unlikely advantage
Villarreal made to regret missed chances
Last Updated: 25/02/09 10:23pm
Karagounis: Gave Panathinaikos lead
Panathinaikos scored against the run of play to give themselves away-goal advantage in their UEFA Champions League clash with Villarreal.
Giorgos Karagounis put the Greek side ahead against the run of play with a looping shot from 25 yards that was almost kept out by a diving Diego Lopez.
But the home side hit back less that 10 minutes later when former Arsenal player Robert Pires was fouled in the box.
Young Italian striker Giuseppe Rossi stepped up to the penalty spot confidently and sent goalkeeper Mario Galinovic the wrong way to level the scores.
Villarreal dominated possession from the first whistle. They had an early appeal for a penalty turned down when Santi Cazorla fell in the box.
Panathinaikos almost took the lead against the run of play when lone striker Vangelis Mantzios flicked a back-heeled half-volley just over the bar from a corner.
The home side should have been 1-0 up after 23 minutes when Sebastian Eguren was presented with a free header from eight yards out.
The Greek side's goalkeeper was left stranded and all the central midfielder had to do was direct his effort on target. But the header flashed across the face of goal and past the post.
Shortly after Rossi found himself free in the box. He struck a great cross from Ibagaza on the volley but Mario Galinovic did well to keep the effort out.
Karagounis provided the talking point of the first half when he looped a free-kick into the arms of Lopez. Replays suggested the Spanish goalkeeper may have been behind the goal-line when he caught the ball but the evidence was not conclusive.
Villarreal continued their dominance after the break. Galinovic spilled a routine catch at the feet of an onrushing Cazorla but recovered well to smother the midfielder's shot.
Then Panathinaikos incredibly took the lead with Karagounis' sweetly struck shot on 57 minutes.
Manuel Pellegrini immediately changed things by bringing on Nihat Kahveci and Pires. The Frenchman won his side a penalty soon afterwards after he was tripped by Jakub Wawrzyniak.
Former Manchester United prospect Rossi coolly slotted the spot-kick home to equalise.
The home side piled on the pressure for the remainder of the match, with Rossi looking dangerous on a few occasions.
They came close when Nihat almost directed an Angel Lopez cross in to the net but could not get the goal that would swing the tie in their favour.
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|7||Shots on Target||3|
|9||Shots off Target||1|
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|1||Zenit St. Petersburg||1||3|
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