SPORTS

Maccabi thrashes Panathinaikos 3-0

Panathinaikos suffered a humiliating 3-0 loss at Maccabi Tel Aviv for the first leg of the Europa League playoffs on August 18, seeing its chances of reaching the group stage all but evaporate.

The Greens had a decent first half at the Bloomfield Stadium in Israel but made nothing out of the three or four good chances that came the way of Toche and Quincy Owusu-Abeyie.

Maccabi issued a warning by hitting the woodwork in the 20th minute after the Eliran Atar shot bounced off Nikos Spyropoulos’s leg.

The hosts enjoyed better possession at the start of the second half, but the Greeks really crumbled when coach Jesualdo Ferreira withdrew Sotiris Ninis to bring on Victor Vitolo in the 55th minute.

Maccabi’s midfield was released and started putting great pressure on the Panathinaikos area, with the first goal coming from Senegalese Moussa Konate right on the hour mark.

Six minutes later Panathinaikos conceded a penalty as Cedric Kante handled the ball in the area. Atar took the kick to coolly beat Panathinaikos keeper Alexandros Tzorvas.

Ten minutes from time Panathinaikos thought it had scored the essential away goal when Toche tapped in a Sebastian Leto cross, the ball flew over keeper Guy Haimov and television replays showed it had gone over the line before the Maccabi stopper pulled it back out. The referee and his assistants however waved play on despite protests by the Greeks.

This was topped by another Atar goal, who was left unmarked inside Panathinaikos?s six-yard box to turn a Roberto Colautti cross into Maccabi’s third goal.

The return leg will be in Athens on August 25.