SPORTS

Scots through with late goal

Panathinaikos is out of the UEFA Cup after Scottish league front-runner Glasgow Rangers struck late in the game last night for a 1-1 draw that was enough to get the visitors through to the last 16. The teams had played a scoreless draw in the tie’s first leg in Glasgow last week. Panathinaikos coach Jose Peseiro, who, in pre-match comments, stressed the importance of an early goal, got what he wanted in the 12th minute. Central defender Yiannis Goumas, up front and outside the Glasgow Rangers box, chested down the ball with his back to the goal and unleashed a powerful half-volley on the turn that rocketed into the top right-hand corner, leaving the Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor helpless. Two minutes before halftime, Panathinaikos goalkeeper Mario Galinovic, the Greek team’s hero in Glasgow, produced a fingertip save from a powerful close-range strike by Spaniard Nacho Novo. Portuguese striker Helder Postiga, who recently moved to Panathinaikos from Porto on a six-month loan, played his first European game with the Athens club. He was substituted in the 62nd minute by Dame N’Doye. Several minutes later, Panathinaikos increased the pressure in search of a second goal and possible tie sealer. The Greek team unsuccessfully bombarded the Glasgow Rangers goal mouth with three long-range shots within less than two minutes from Giorgos Karagounis, Loukas Vyntra and Andreas Ivanschitz. Then, 12 minutes from time, Panathinaikos squandered its biggest opportunity to take a two-goal lead when Brazilian Marcelo Mattos, just off the goal line, was unable to make contact with a deflected ball that whistled past him. Not long afterward, however, Glasgow Rangers equalized through Novo in the 81st minute when he fired in from close range after the ball bounced off defender Nasief Morris. This was arguably the visiting team’s only chance to score in the game. Panathinaikos, which went into last night’s encounter unbeaten in its last seven European home games, had not conceded a goal at home in six UEFA Cup matches. AEK was scheduled to play its return leg later last night, against Getafe in Spain with a fragile 1-1 first-leg scoreline to protect.