Panathinaikos exits Europe

Bonaventure Kalou grabbed a second-half goal to give Auxerre a 1-0 away victory over Panathinaikos late Wednesday and a berth in the last 16 of the UEFA Cup. With a goal-less first-leg match in France last week, Auxerre advanced 1-0 on aggregate. Panathinaikos’s Israeli coach Itzhak Shum was unable to deploy Dimitris Papadopoulos, his talented 22-year-old striker, who returned from France with a leg injury. But the absence of Panathinaikos’s top scorer could not excuse the disappointing performance of the Athens club. Disorganized and often carelessly surrendering possession, particularly in the second half, the Greeks allowed the visitors the opportunity to launch constant attacks. Auxerre nearly scored in the 65th, but Yiannis Goumas stretched out his leg to clear a close-range shot from Djibril Cisse. Seven minutes later, another French attack silenced the 13,000 fans at the Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium. Philippe Violeau tried to dribble through the Greek defense, was tackled but still managed to feed the ball to Kalou. The Ivory Coast international’s shot was almost stopped by keeper Costas Chalkias but the ball slid under his body. The away goal meant Panathinaikos had to score twice – and quickly – but it never looked capable of rising to the challenge. The hosts had a good scoring opportunity in the game’s dying minutes when Pandelis Constantinidis received a pass from German midfielder Markus Muench deep in the French area, but his shot went just wide. (AP)

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