SPORTS

Panathinaikos faces tough test against Barcelona tonight

Two Brazilians will be the main attraction tonight when Panathinaikos hosts Barcelona in a Champions League match. Ronaldinho, the world player of the year, will lead the Spanish champions in the Group C match at the Olympic Stadium in Athens. On the other side, former Brazil midfielder Flavio Conceicao will help Panathinaikos. «He is a good friend and I think he’s the best player in the world but on Tuesday I’ll try to beat him,» Conceicao said. The last time Barcelona traveled to Athens to face Panathinaikos, the Greek team won 1-0 in the first leg of the 2002 Champions League quarterfinals. Barcelona advanced to the semifinals by winning 3-1 in the second leg, however. On Saturday, Barca got two goals from Ronaldinho in a 3-3 draw against Deportivo La Coruna in the Spanish league. Vangelis Mantzios scored the only goal for Panathinaikos in its 1-0 win over Akratitos. «We’re not playing against one player… but a team that has not 11 but 22 champions,» Panathinaikos coach Alberto Malesani said. «You feel a sense of awe when looking at the Barcelona bench.» Both teams have struggled in their leagues, with Barcelona in sixth place with 10 points, five behind leader Real Madrid. Panathinaikos is in fourth in the Greek league, four behind rival Olympiakos. «The match is important to both teams because they both need to win,» Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard said. Barcelona leads Group C with six points from its two matches, while Panathinaikos has three. Werder Bremen and Udinese play in the other group match. «We all know Barcelona will win the group, but we will fight for second place against Bremen and Udinese,» Panathinaikos captain Ioannis Goumas said. Also tonight it’s: Udinese vs Werder Bremen; Bayern Munich vs Juventus; Rapid Vienna vs FC Brugge; Ajax vs FC Thun; Manchester United vs Lille; and Villarreal vs Benfica. Eight more games are on tap tomorrow: Fenerbahce vs Schalke and AC Milan vs PSV Eindhoven in Group E; Lyon vs Olympiakos and Real Madrid vs Rosenborg in Group F; Anderlecht vs Liverpool and Chelsea vs Real Betis in Group G; and FC Porto vs Inter Milan and Rangers vs Artmedia Bratislava in Group H. (AP)