SPORTS

Malaga relegates PAO to the Europa League

Panathinaikos and Malaga shared a goalless draw in the return leg of the Champions League playoffs in Athens on Tuesday, which meant a 2-0 aggregate win for the Spanish team that enters the group stage of the competition.

As for the Greens, they will enter Friday?s draw for the group stage of the Europa League, a competition more befitting their budget for this season anyway.

The match at the Olympic Stadium offered little excitement to the 35,000 fans, including some 120 Spaniards, as neither team took any chances in the game, having defense as their collective priority.

Malaga was the better team in the first half as it asked more questions at the Panathinaikos defense and would have scored in the 34th minute had it not been for a goalline clearance by Lazaros Christodoulopoulos to a Martin Demichelis effort.

It was actually Christodoulopoulos who had Panathinaikos?s best moment in the game as his freekick in the 58th minute went just over the Malaga crossbar.

As the time went by and the Spanish enjoyed the cushion of the 2-0 score in the first leg, the Greens grew more nervous and allowed some dangerous counter-attacks by the visitors. Joaquin came close to scoring eight minutes from time but was denied by keeper Orestis Karnezis.

The 0-0 result was rather fair after such a game, with Panathinaikos fans going home hoping for plenty of things to change for their team to revert to being competitive in Europe come September.