Mediterranean cruise – Malaga through

Malaga are in the Champions League for the first time in their history after a dreary goalless draw with Panathinaikos in Athens.

The Andalusians began the second leg of this play-off at the Olympic Stadium without Enzo Maresca, who is close to joining Sampdoria, meaning a start for Ignacio Camacho.

In the 13th minute Tottenham target Isco spun around on the edge of the box and arrowed a low drive narrowly wide.

Martin Demichelis almost repeated his goalscoring heroics of last week shortly after, meeting a corner with a header that looped just past the far post.

In spite of their 2-0 aggregate advantage it was Manuel Pellegrini's visitors that looked the more purposeful and assured side, moving the ball around neatly and regularly finding openings in the Greek backline. Eliseu burst in off the left wing and whipped a shot across goal and wide with his right foot.

On the half hour Weligton was booked for bringing down Pana striker Bruno Fornaroli, but the resultant free kick was taken short and dribbled harmlessly out of play.

A Malaga corner caused panic and confusion, but came to nothing.

The hosts were increasingly combative in approach at the start of the second half, with Jeremy Toulalan complaining to the ref about the rough treatment. Once his protests were over the Frenchman almost scored a magnificent goal, his fizzing half volley dipping just over.

Juanmi had a golden opportunity just seconds after coming off the bench, picking up the ball in space after some delightful Isco footwork, but he dilly-dallied and the danger was cleared.

The game petered out somewhat with Malaga not desperate to add to their lead and Panathinaikos seemingly unconvinced of their ability to reduce it.

Joaquin's dipping free kick forced a save from Orestis Karnezis with eight minutes to play, the closest either side had came to scoring.

Pana finally registered a shot in target in the 88th minute but Willy Caballero proved equal to Ibrahim Sissoko's effort.

Panathinaikos 0 Malaga 0 (0-2 on aggregate)


Panathinaikos: Karnezis, Andre Pinto, Vyntra, Spyropoulos, Velzaquez, Sissoko, Vitolo, Christodoulopoulos, Zeca (Mavrias 46), Katsouranis (Marinos 71), Fornaroli (Toche 73)

Malaga: Willy; Gamez, Demichelis, Weligton, Monreal; Isco, Toulalan, Camacho, Eliseu (Duda 88); Joaquin (Portillo 92), Fabrice (Juanmi 63)

Ref: Hagen (Norway)

Tags Panathinaikos