A disastrous second half in Belgium was enough to put an end to the Champions League aspirations of Panathinaikos on Wednesday, as the Greens went down 3-0 to host Club Bruges on the night and 4-2 on aggregate.
Having won the first leg 2-1 in Athens, Panathinaikos played a composed first half in Belgium and contained the hosts’ pressure on the Greek defense.
However, after three chances missed for a Greek goal at the start of the second half, Bruges opened the score on the 53rd minute, pretty much against the run of play through Dion Cools and the tide of the game turned in the hosts’ favor.
Panathinaikos lost its concentration and Bruges added a second less than five minutes later courtesy of Spanish midfielder Victor Vazquez. His freekick went in off the head of Panathinaikos rightback Jens Wemmer at the wall.
With growing confidence and the increasing control of the midfield once Giorgos Koutroumbis was substituted, the Belgians held on to the result that would favor them, seeing Nikos Karelis’s shot stop at the woodwork on the 62nd minute.
Eventually they even added insult to injury eight minutes from time as substitute Obbi Oulare completed the routing for Bruges.
Panathinaikos will now enter Friday’s draw for the Europa League playoffs in the hope it will be able to feature in the group stage of UEFA’s second-tier competition.