Soccer clubs must prove their worth

The time has come for Panathinaikos and Olympiakos to prove whether they have what it takes to return to soccer’s Champions League as they enter the qualifying rounds today and tomorrow respectively. Panathinaikos faces Sparta in Prague for the first leg of the two teams’ clash that is reminiscent of last year’s meeting between the two in August. The Green squad left Athens yesterday morning to have time for an evening training session in the Czech capital. The match kicks off at 9 p.m. Greek time tonight. The main concern for coach Henk ten Cate is how to replace injured right-back Bryce Moon, who has not traveled to Prague. He will probably be replaced by the new signing from Swedish club Goteborg, Mattias Bjarsmyr, the central defender who can also play on the right. «The trip to Prague brings back good memories from last year,» said the Panathinaikos manager before taking off with the team. «It is always important to score an away goal in European matches, especially in knockout ties,» he said when asked what he wants to see in tonight’s game. Tomorrow at 9 p.m. it is the turn of Olympiakos to play in Central Europe as the champion visits Slovan Bratislava. The good news for manager Temuri Ketsbaia is the return to action of Argentine winger Luciano Galletti.