Panathinaikos 3 Aberdeen 0: Outclassed Aberdeen slide to opening defeat

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The Independent Online

Aberdeen experienced a miserable start to their Uefa Cup group stage campaign in Athens as Jimmy Calderwood's side went down to a crushing defeat to Greek giants Panathinaikos.

After a closely-contested first half in which Giannis Goumas headed Panathinaikos in front, two late second-half strikes in just four minutes from Greek international duo Dimitris Papadopoulos and Dimitris Salpigidis completed a convincing win for Jose Peseiro's team.

The Dons now have it all to do in their three remaining matches, the next of which is against Lokomotiv Moscow at Pittodrie in two weeks time. The hosts started strongly, probing down both flanks and winning two corners inside the first three minutes – but a Dons counter-attack in the fourth minute should have resulted in the visitors taking the lead.

A neat passing move saw Barry Nicholson release Richard Foster down the left and he skipped past Mikael Nilsson before whipping in a low centre which arrived at the feet of Chris Clark through a crowd of bodies. However, Clark failed to find the target, with his first-time effort fizzing narrowly over the crossbar.

Aberdeen were then made to pay for that miss in the 12th minute when they fell behind to a goal from a set-piece. Pana forward Dame N'Doye won a free-kick from Jackie McNamara's over-enthusiastic tackle in a dangerous position on the right flank. Defender Goumas then beat Dons defender Andrew Considine to Andreas Ivanschitz's free-kick at the near post to glance a header past James Langfield and into the bottom left hand corner.

Panathinaikos showed their attacking intent just after the break when N'Doye broke through in the right side of the Dons penalty area and held off Alexander Diamond's challenge before shooting into the side netting in the opening minute.

It came as no surprise when Aberdeen went two goals down with 17 minutes remaining. Ivanschitz was again the architect for the home side, playing in substitute Papadopoulos with a defence-splitting pass which the Greece striker slotted neatly into the bottom right hand corner through Langfield's legs.

Langfield was then beaten for a third time four minutes later. Mair brought down Tziolis just outside the penalty area and although Ivanschitz's curling free-kick was parried by the Dons keeper, the ball fell straight into the path of Salpigidis, who rammed it home from six yards.

Panathinaikos (4-4-2): Malarz; Morris, Fyssas, Goumas, Mattos; Tziolis, Ivanschitz (Mantzios, 81), Nilsson, Dimoutsos; Ndoye (Papadopoulos, 59), Salpigidis (Seric, 81). Substitutes not used: Romero, Vintra, Sarregi, Galinovic.

Aberdeen (4-4-2): Langfield; Hart, McNamara (De Visscher, 75), Diamond, Foster; Considine (Mair, 61), Severin (Aluko, 86), Nicholson, Clark; Miller, Young. Subsitutes not used: Lovell, Touzani, Byrne, Kelly.

Referee: T Einwaller (Austria)

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