BERNE - Greek football, already plagued by
match-fixing and crowd violence, suffered more misery on Tuesday
when Panathinaikos lost 4-3 at home to Odense and were knocked
out of the Champions League qualifiers.
Odense's fellow Danes FC Copenhagen won 2-0 at Shamrock
Rovers to end their opponents' bid to become the first Irish
team to reach the group stage and Lithuania's interest ended
when 10-man BATE Borisov beat Ekranas Panevezys 3-1.
Panathinaikos, seconds away from a win in last week's third
qualifying round first leg until Tore Reginiussen's injury-time
goal gave Odense a 1-1 draw, fell behind to an Andreas Johansson
goal after 12 minutes in a half-empty Olympic stadium.
Jean-Alain Boumsong and Jose Verdu scored either side of
half-time to put the Greens in front, only for Espen Ruud to stun
the home crowd with an equaliser just before the hour and put
visitors Odense ahead on away goals.
Bashkim Kadrii fired Odense in front with a deflected shot
10 minutes from time and a swerving 30-metre effort by Hans
Henrik Andreasen completed the misery for the hosts, who will
have the added indignity of having to watch arch rivals
Olympiakos in the group stage.
Most fans had already left when the visitors had Bernard
Mendy sent off in stoppage-time and Antonis Petropoulos headed a
consolation as Odense won 5-4 on aggregate.
Panathinaikos, who sold top striker Djibril Cisse to Lazio,
are group stage stalwarts who reached the old European Cup final
European football's governing body UEFA said on Tuesday it
would send teams of experts to Greece to help the country reform
its leagues following increased crowd violence at games and a
More than 60 individuals including club officials, players
and businessmen are being investigated by the Athens prosecutor
in a match-fixing scandal which erupted in June while three club
presidents have been imprisoned pending trial. Violence inside
and outside stadiums plagued Greek football last season.
FC Copenhagen, who last season became the first Danish club
to reach the knockout stages, weathered a first-half storm at
They snatched the lead three minutes before the break when
Senegalese striker Dame N'Doye, top scorer in the Danish
Superleague last season with 26 goals, scored from the far post
following a corner.
In the 73rd minute, N'Doye, who has played for clubs in
Qatar, Portugal and Greece, forced Shamrock goalkeeper Ryan
Thompson to make a superb save only for Ecuador's Cristian
Bolanos to head in the rebound.
Brazilian Renan Bressan scored to put BATE Borisov 2-1 ahead
against Erkanas in the 35th minute but was sent off for a second
bookable offence five minutes later.
Ekranas had some good chances in the second half but
Belarussian club BATE held out and Mikhael Gordeychuk added a
third with one minute left.
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