- Moledo Gives Panathinaikos the Advantage -
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE - 3RD QUALIFYING ROUND, LEG 1
|Panathinaikos||1 - 0||AIK|
A goal in the final 10 minutes from Moledo gave Panathinaikos the 1-0 victory against AIK in the first leg of the UEFA Europa League 3rd Qualifying Round. The goal gives Panathinaikos the advantage before next week’s match in Sweden.
It was evident early on that Stramaccioni’s decision to play with 3 stoppers affected Panathinaikos’ ability to attack. With AIK sitting back and Panathinaikos lacking the players to develop on the offensive end (due to the formation choice by Stramaccioni) the first half ended 0-0. The best chance of the half fell to the hosts, but Ibarbo was denied by the keeper on a one-on-one opportunity.
At the beginning of the second half, Stramaccioni replaced one of the stoppers, Koutroubis, for Villafáñez to improve Panathinaikos’ in the final third of the pitch. With a better display from the Trifylli, the important goal came in the 79th minute from Moledo’s header. A great cross from Mesto found Moledo unmarked at the back post and the man of the match gave the Prasini a 1-0 lead. Before the goal, Steele made a tremendous save to deny Markanen’s header from a corner. With the defense led by the goal scorer Moledo, Panathinaikos held onto their 1-0 lead at the final whistle.
The win puts Panathinaikos in the driver’s seat for the second leg match in Sweden. Although the Greek club would have liked a larger margin of victory, keeping a clean sheet at home will make Panathinaikos the clear favorites to progress. The return leg is scheduled for next Thursday, August 4.