High flying Roma were last night beaten 3-2 by Greek club Panathinaikos in the first leg of their Europa league last 32 tie at the Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium. This brings to an end the brilliant undefeated streak that Claudio Ranieri and his boys have enjoyed the last couple of weeks.
Ranieri will however have to answer to the fans after the Roman club threw away a 2-1 lead with only 6 minutes left in the game. Roma’s target men for the night were Mirko Vucinic and David Pizarro. Vucinic opened the scoring 30 minutes into the first half through a wonderful curling effort into the top corner that left Alexandros Tzorvas Pana goalie clearly beaten.
The home side only restored parity with 24 minutes left on the clock when Dimtrios Salpigidis who had only come on 2 minutes before lashed the ball past Roma defenders and into the back of the net. David Pizarro scored Roma’s second in the 84th minute and it looked liked the Romans were headed for victory but Lazaros Christodoulopoulos who had only been on the pitch for less than a minute fired the home side’s second of the night after Roma had failed to clear a corner.
Five minutes later, Djibril Cisse sealed the win after tirelessly searching for a goal. Roma now have to turn the tables on Panathinaikos when they come calling at the Olympic stadium in 3 weeks time. Ranieri will be looking to keep his side still in the hunt for the 3 titles that he could possible win i.e. the Europa league, the Serie A and the Italian league cup.
photo credit: Stefano principi