- Panathinaikos Returns to the Europa League! -
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE - PLAYOFF QUALIFYING ROUND
|Brondby||1 - 1||Panathinaikos|
||(1 - 4)
Panathinaikos has returned to the Europa League Group Stage. The Prasini drew Brondby 1-1 in Denmark and with their their 3-0 first leg win, defeated Brondby 4-1 on aggregate. Brondby took the lead in the first half but a great header from Ivanov secured Panathinaikos’ place in the competition’s Group Stages.
Brondby had an extremely difficult task ahead of them after a 3-0 defeat in Greece for the first leg. The hosts needed an early goal and as expected, took control of the game early on. Panathinaikos was content defending their lead as they sat back while Brondby continued to attack Panathinaikos’ goal. Midway through the first half, Brondby increased their pressure which paid off in the 35th minute when a great back-heel pass from Wilczek left Mukhtar open in front of goal. The German player made no mistake with his shot beating Steele to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. Panathinaikos came close to a quick equalizer, but Ibarbo missed a tremendous opportunity (hit the post) after Wakaso’s pressure forced a mistake from Brondby’s defense. The overall performance and 1-0 lead at the end of the half, gave Brondby hopes of a miraculous comeback in the second 45 minutes.
In the second half, Panathinaikos balanced out the game and saw more of the ball. Brondby could not keep up their pace from the first half and Panathinaikos looked more of a threat as the game progressed. In the 65th minute, a great cross from Lud found Ivanov in the box and his turn-around header was well placed in the bottom corner, to bring Panathinaikos level on the night. The all-important away goal killed off the game, since the hosts now needed 4 goals to advance. The final 25 minutes were played out with minimal chances and the final whistle confirmed Panathinaikos’ place in the Europa League Group Stages.
Panathinaikos returns to the Group Stage of the competition after a surprising elimination to Qabala (from Azerbaijan) in last year’s qualifying. The Prasini finished qualifying with 3 wins and a one tie. In tomorrow’s Group Stage draw, Panathinaikos will be in either the 4th or 3rd seeded pot depending on today’s results.