Panathinaikos 2 - Real Madrid 2
Nikopolidis; Seitaridis, Goumas, Henriksen, Fyssas; Michaelsen, Galetto,
Karagounis; Vlaovic (Warzycha 84'), Konstantinou (Olisadebe 73'), Liberopoulos
(Vokolos 78'). 4-3-3.
Group C final league table:
Real Madrid completed the formalities in the last game of the second phase, drawing 2-2 at Panathinaikos. With his side already through to the next round as group champions, Del Bosque left his entire first choice team at home and took a squad to Greece made up of reserves and B team youngsters, with Iván Campo returning to a starting line up for the first time in months. They paid the price early on though when an excellent Liberopoulos beat Casillas with a volley from the edge of the area in the ninth minute after Geremi had headed clear. Two minutes later though Morientes levelled the scores, heading over Nikopolidis from a Celades pass with the Greeks waiting for a whistle which never came for a possible previous foul. Panathinaikos dominated the rest of the first half, with Casillas saving from Konstantinou and Michaelsen wasting the best chance of the first half with Casillas beaten.
Morientes almost caught out Nikopolidis in the first minute of the second half with a clever back heel, but Del Bosque decided to rest his first choice striker a few minutes later to bring on B team youngster Portillo for his first team debut. Before he had time to settle Goumas restored the lead for the Athens based side, getting between the two central defenders to head home Vlaovic's free kick. Casillas prevented Michaelsen from increasing the lead with a full stretch save, but five minutes later Madrid equalised again, Portillo scoring a spectacular goal from outside of the area, picking up a short free kick and driving his shot in off the post. It was a dream debut for the 20 year old, who started the season in Madrid's C team down in the lower divisions and was now starring in Europe. The result didn't trouble Panathinaikos too much however, as a draw was more than enough to see them through to the quarter finals as runners up to Madrid, particularly as Porto, their only rivals for second place, were being beaten by Sparta Prague. The last ten minutes passed by peacefully, and the Greek fans cheered off their side for qualifying amongst the best eight teams in Europe, which of course include three clubs from Spain.