Greens beat Gabala to book Europa League playoffs place
UEFA EUROPA LEAGUE - 3RD QUALIFYING ROUND (LEG 2)
|Gabala||1 - 2||Panathinaikos|
|Moledo (OG) 52'
||(1 - 3)
Panathinaikos progressed smoothly into the Europa League playoffs after a 2-1 win over Gabala in Azerbaijan on Thursday earned the Greens a 3-1 aggregate victory overall in their third qualifying round tie.
There was an auspicious start as after a blank first half, Panathinaikos fell behind when defender Rodrigo Moledo accidentally put the ball past his own goalkeeper seven minutes into the second half.
Panathinaikos did not panic, however, and two quick goals in three minutes from Finland midfielder Robin Lod and Bryan Cabezas turned the match on its head and saw the visitors comfortably through.
Lod, who hit the woodwork twice and missed several other chances in the first leg, scored in the 63rd minute after latching on to an assist from Guilermo Molins. Substitute Cabezas then put Panathinaikos ahead three minutes later to seal the win.
The victory was a sweet one for Panathinaikos, who lost to Gabala on away goals in the 2015/16 play-offs of the same competition, and so avenged that defeat by eliminating their opponents from Azerbaijan.