-- Disappointment For Panathinaikos --
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE - GROUP STAGE (GROUP G)
|Celta||2 - 0||Panathinaikos|
An unfortunate result for Panathinaikos...The Greek side wasted many chances to walk away with all three points against Celta, but two late goals from the Spaniards gave Celta the 2-0 victory in the second matchday of the Europa League Group Stage. The goals came in the 84th and 89th minutes from Gudetti and Wass.
Andrea Stramaccioni decided to start the match with 3 center-backs in a 3-4-2-1 formation consisting of Steele, Moledo, Samba, Koutroubis, Coulibaly, Ledesma, Zeca, Lod, Ibarbo, Villafanez, and Breg. Celta was the better side in the opening 15 minutes with Panathinaikos balancing out the game from that point on. The Prasini were more of a threat in the first half, creating many chances on the counter-attack. The first chance fell to Berg in the 15th minute, with his left-footed shot finding the side netting and 10 minutes later Lod’s effort, from Ibarbo’s cross went only inches wide. Panathinaikos continued to create chances on the counter and came extremely close to the opener in the 38th minute when Ibarbo was played in on goal, but was denied by Alvarez. The rebound fell to Coulibaly, but Alvarez once again came away with a great save and the teams went into the break goalless.
The second half kept up at a fast pace and Panathinaikos continued to look more of a threat. In the 55th minute, Berg’s header found the back of the net, but was called off due to a “weak” offensive foul. In the 67th minute, Ledesma brilliantly played Ibarbo in on goal and the Colombian was clearly pushed in the back, but the referee failed to give the visitors a penalty. In the final 15 minutes of the match, Celta began to pressure in the Panathinaikos half as they looked for a winner. Unfortunately for Panathinaikos, the ball punished the Greek side for all their missed chances with 6 minute remaining, when Wass’s cross found Gudetti and the Swedish striker tapped it home for the late 1-0 lead. Panathinaikos looked for a quick response, but yet another chance went to waste with Alvarez making another save from Ibarbo’s header. The game was laid to rest in the 89th minute when a powerful free-kick from Wass beat Steele to secure Celta’s victory.
Like Panathinaikos’ opening match against Ajax, the Greek side will see today’s result as yet another blown opportunity after a relatively good performance. Panathinaikos failed to convert their numerous chances into a goal(s) as Celta made no mistake with their few chances in the game. The result puts Panathinaikos in last place of Group G with 0 points as Celta move in second behind Ajax, who defeated Standard Liege 1-0. In matchday 3 Panathinaikos will travel to Belgium to face Standard Liege in a must win match to keep their hopes alive for the knockout stages.