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BBC Sport's Ian Brown
"There is no margin for error in Arsenal's next two games"
 real 14k

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger
"We gave a bad goal away"
 real 14k

Arsenal captain Patrick Vieira
"We have to blame ourselves"
 real 14k

Arsenal forward Thierry Henry
"The most upsetting thing is that we didn't play in the first half"
 real 14k

Wednesday, 26 September, 2001, 20:45 GMT 21:45 UK
Arsenal wilt in Athens heat
Lauren, Keown, Seaman and Viera reflect on the opening goal
Lauren, Keown, Seaman and Viera reflect on defeat
Panathinaikos 1-0 Arsenal

Arsenal sweated to no great effect on a hot and frustrating night in Athens and now face an uphill task if they are to qualify for the second stage from Group C.

A first-half header from Giorgos Karagounis in the cramped Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium and a third successive clean sheet was enough to give the Greeks maximum points after three games.

Real Mallorca's victory in Germany puts them second on six points and Arsenal are going to have to find some unlikely away form - and more importantly some goals - from somewhere if they are to progress.

Freddie Ljungberg
Ljungberg had Arsenal's best first-half chance

The Gunners have now lost six of their past seven away games in Europe.

They made five changes to the team that drew at home with Bolton on Saturday and started steadily enough, at least until the tenth minute when only Ashley Cole's clearance off the line kept out Vlaovic's powerful header from Karagounis's corner.

Arsenal's first attempt on goal came after 22 minutes, when Robert Pires found Freddie Ljungberg, who struck firmly enough but pulled his shot just wide.

Three minutes later, and just as they appeared to have weathered the initial Greek storm, the Gunners fell behind as Basinas spread the ball out to Michaelsen, who got away from Cole down the right.

The Dane whipped in an accurate low cross that found Karagounis 10 yards out and hs angled downward header bounced wide of Seaman's despairing dive.


We have to win our two home games to go through, but we must not be too alarmist
Arsene Wenger

Panathinaikos had a good opportunity to make it 2-0 after 37 minutes when Seaman totally misjudged a long pass from midfield.

The Arsenal goalkeeper came to the edge of his box but found himself stranded as Olisadebe took the ball past him and into the area.

But, with the goal at his mercy, Olisadebe hesitated, and Keown got back to cover.

Wiltord headed a Pires corner over the bar from six yards out just before half-time but Arsenal went in at time knowing they were lucky to be facing only a one-goal deficit.

Strong words from Arsene Wenger were needed at half-time and an improvement in the quality of the visitors' passing.

But there was no discernible improvement after the break, so Wenger replaced Ray Parlour with Giovanni van Bronckhorst after 52 minutes.

Thierry Henry
Henry evades a challenge from Kygiakos

Kanu and Jeffers soon followed, for Ljungberg and Wiltord, and Pires shot over the bar after being teed up by Kanu, but still Arsenal were underperforming.

Van Bronckhorst curled a free kick won by Jeffers wide with 20 minutes left as Panathinaikos sat deeper and Nikopolidis made a flying save to block Jeffers with nine minutes to go.

But the new signing from Everton should really have done better with Arsenal's best chance of the night when his free header from the resulting corner went tamely wide.

Nikopolidis got down to Henry's low volley as Arsenal poured forward and Wenger paced the touchline in frustration.

But Panathinaikos were not going to be denied a first victory over English opposition at the 11th attempt.


Panathinaikos: Nikopolidis, Henriksen, Vokolos, Fissas, Kyrgiakos, Basinas, Sousa, Karagounis, Michaelsen, Vlaovic, Olisadebe. Subs: Kotsolis, Galetto, Warzycha, Boateng, Kolkka, Saric, Konstantinou.

Arsenal: Seaman, Lauren, Keown, Upson, Cole, Parlour, Vieira, Pires, Ljungberg, Henry, Wiltord. Subs: Wright, Jeffers, van Bronckhorst, Inamoto, Luzhny, Kanu, Stepanovs.

Referee: M Pereira (Portugal).

See also:

26 Sep 01 |  Football
Arsenal fall in Greece
26 Sep 01 |  Champions League
Liverpool v Dynamo Kiev
Links to more Champions League stories are at the foot of the page.

 

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