Panathinaikos bow out after another defeat to Athletic Bilbao
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE - PLAYOFFS (LEG 2)
|Athletic Bilbao||1 - 0||Panathinaikos|
||(4 - 2)
Panathinaikos’ European adventure was ended before it even began on Thursday as the Greens exited the Europa League following a second defeat to Athletic Bilbao in their playoff tie against the Spanish club.
Iker Muniain scored the only goal of the game for the La Liga outfit mid-way through the first half at the Estadio de San Mames, and although Panathinaikos had a few chances the damage was already done following last week’s disappointing first leg.
The result completed a 4-2 aggregate victory for the Basque club, who now go into Friday’s draw for the group stage while Panathinaikos must regroup and focus on their SuperLeague campaign.
It was always going to be a huge ask for Panathinaikos after the massive disappointment of letting a 2-0 lead slip to lose 3-2 in the first leg in Athens, and although the Greens showed determination and heart, they lacked the quality to breach the home side’s defence.
An effortless team goal finished off by Muniain after 22 minutes proved the decisive moment of the match on the night.
Panathinaikos sporadically threatened to get back in the tie, and their best patch of play came five minutes before half-time when Andres Chavez hit the post and Bryan Cabezas should have scored with the follow up but instead his effort was off target.
The visitors pressured the Athletic goal again in the closing stages but the hosts were never in danger of letting the tie slip from their grasp and they held firm to qualify for their second successive Europa League group stage campaign.