Panathinaikos holds Arsenal to 1-1 draw at Highbury

LONDON (AFP) – Arsenal’s post-«Battle of Old Trafford» hangover continued here at Highbury as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Panathinaikos in the Champions League on Wednesday night. They were fortunate to escape with a point as the visitors missed a second-half penalty. The Gunners have stumbled since ending their 49-match unbeaten Premiership run in the «Battle of Old Trafford,» when Manchester United won 2-0, and again failed to see off their opponents, who forced the Gunners to concede the lead and draw for a third successive Champions League game. Arsenal’s France striker Thierry Henry scored a penalty in the 16th minute after his skipper Patrick Vieira was senselessly bundled over. Panathinaikos midfielder Angelos Basinas, from the same spot in front of the Clock End, sent his 63rd-minute penalty high and wide after Dimitrios Papadopoulos fell in a tangle with England fullback Ashley Cole. Loukas Vintra’s hopeful drive from distance with 15 minutes remaining cannoned in off Pascal Cygan’s head to claim a precious point for the visitors and keep them third in Group E, one point behind Arsenal with two games remaining. Substitute Jose Antonio Reyes hit the Panathinaikos crossbar shortly afterward. Panathinaikos manager Zdenek Scasny was delighted to take a further point against Arsenal after holding them to a 2-2 draw in Athens. «I want to congratulate my players on their performance. I am happy because now all the possibilities are open for qualification into the next round. We could have won the game if you consider that we missed a penalty so I am happy with the result,» Scasny said. «I believe that tonight’s game will help us because my players will consider that if they are well prepared, they can face any team in Europe,» the Czech added. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger was frustrated at seeing his side throw away points for a third time in Group E. «You cannot say that you are happy when you don’t win. I feel that tonight everything went against us. We were a little bit unlucky. I cannot accuse the team of giving chances away. We conceded that goal at a bad moment because they were in a position where they had to come out. When they got back to 1-1 they cut the game, put defenders on and that changed the game after that,» the Frenchman said. «Panathinaikos are a good side, they have a big squad, many international players and they were well organized and defended very well. We have lost one game in the whole season and we know we can play better going forward… If we panic, the whole of Europe should panic.»