Pana prevail against Bremen
By Paul Higham. Last Updated: 27/09/05 9:35pm
Panathinaikos earned a 2-1 win over Werder Bremen in an entertaining Group C clash in Athens.
The Greek side went 2-0 up inside eight minutes when captain Ezequiel Gonzalez smashed home a penalty before Vangelis Mantzios scored on his UEFA Champions League debut.
Miroslav Klose pulled one back for the German side after they dominated the rest of the first half, but Alberto Malesani's men came back strong in the second half to secure the three points.
Croatian striker Ivan Klasnic had a night to forget as he missed a host of first half chances and was later sent off for a second yellow card four minutes before full time.
Mantzios had an early chance after just four minutes when he found himself with the ball just two yards out, but he rifled into the side netting from a tight angle.
A minute later and Panathinaikos were ahead, thanks to a theatrical tumble inside the box from Sandor Torghelle over a half challenge from Naldo, resulting in a penalty that Gonzalez thrashed past Andreas Reinke.
Klasnic then wasted a good chance by firing wide from 10 yards barely a minute after the goal, and he was made to pay for that error when Mantzios marked his Champions League debut with a goal by slotting home first time after Torghelle's menacing run was halted by Christian Schulz, only for the ball to fall kindly for Mantzios to score.
Despite going 2-0 up in eight minutes, Panathinaikos then struggled to get a grip on the game as Werder Bremen dominated, with Klasnic again denied by Mario Galinovic's sliding save when the German was through inside the box.
Galinovic looked anything but assured as he continually flapped at anything crossed into the box, but Klasnic wasted his third great chance when he shot wide from 12 yards, but Werder's domination eventually paid off.
The Germans pulled a goal back four minutes before the break when Johan Micoud's first-time pass sent Klose clear, and he made no mistake thrashing the ball past Galinovic.
Werder again could have been caught cold at the start of the second half but Mantzios fluffed his lines with the Greeks having a two-on-one situation at the edge of the box.
The visitors where probing away for a leveller but Panathinaikos looked more assured at the back in the second half, and nearly extended their lead when Gonzalez waltzed into the box down the left before hitting the outside of the post.
The home side's skipper was again denied by the woodwork on 68 minutes when he unleashed a thunderous strike from just inside the box which thumped off the crossbar with Reinke stranded.
Klasnic completed a miserable night for him when he was sent off for a second bookable offence four minutes from time, although Flavio Conceicao hardly covered himself in glory with a shocking dive after minimal contact from Klasnic's sliding challenge.
The dismissal effectively ended Bremen's chances of grabbing an equaliser, although in truth Panathinaikos looked the more likely scorers in the second half.
|Panathinaikos||Team Statistics||Werder Bremen|
|2||1st Half Goals||1|
|4||Shots on Target||5|
|8||Shots off Target||10|
UEFA Champions League
Tue 27th Sep - Group C
Panathinaikos2 - 1W Bremen
Barcelona4 - 1Udinese
Tue 27th Sep - Group D
Man Utd2 - 1Benfica
Lille0 - 0Villarreal
Tue 27th Sep - Group B
Ajax1 - 2Arsenal
FC Thun1 - 0Sp Prague
Tue 27th Sep - Group A
Bay Munich1 - 0Club Brugge
Juventus3 - 0Rapid Vienna
UEFA Champions League Group A
UEFA Champions League Group B
UEFA Champions League Group C
|1||Paris St Germain||6||13|
UEFA Champions League Group D
|3||FC Viktoria Plzen||6||3|
UEFA Champions League Group E
|4||FC Steaua Bucuresti||6||3|
UEFA Champions League Group F
UEFA Champions League Group G
|2||Zenit St. Petersburg||6||6|
UEFA Champions League Group H