SPORTS

Panathinaikos favorite after 1-1 at Odense

Panathinaikos snatched a draw from the jaws of victory in Denmark, but even the 1-1 result at Odense in the first leg of the third qualifying round of the Champions League on July 27 makes the Greens favorites to reach the playoffs of the competition.

The Athens side came close to victory as it led through a Sebastian Leto strike from the 47th minute up to the 90th when it conceded the equalizer.

Odense were the strongest side in the first half-hour of the game asking questions at the Greek defense, but without being able to translate its superiority into goals.

Instead it was Panathinaikos who raised its game after the half-hour mark and had the first-half’s best chance after a personal effort by Leto.

This was the warning the hosts should have heeded, as at the start of the second half the early pressure paid off for the Greens, with Antonis Petropoulos setting up Leto inside the area.

The Argentine winger thundered the ball past keeper Stefan Wessels for the visitors’ precious away goal that coach Jesualdo Ferreira had asked for before the match.

The Danish were very disappointed for the following 15-20 minutes, but after that they regained the upper hand in the game and pulled one or two good saves from Panathinaikos keeper Alexis Tzorvas before equalizing.

Tore Reginiussen made the most of some confusion in the Greek box and scored at the last minute of regular time to give the hosts some hope of qualifying.

New Panathinaikos signing Quincy Owusu-Abeyie came on as a substitute and missed a great chance to win it for the Greeks at the last minute of injury time.

The match also marked the 100th European game for Giorgos Karagounis with the Panathinaikos jersey. He was introduced in the second half as a substitute for Sotiris Ninis.

The return leg is on Tuesday, August 2 at the Olympic Stadium of Athens.