Barcelona (0) 3 - Panthinaikos (1) 1
(Reina 84'); Puyol, Frank De Boer, Abelardo, Coco (Kluivert 44'); Luis Enrique,
Xavi, Cocu; Rivaldo; Saviola, Overmars (Gabri 75'). 4-3-1-2.
Barcelona fought back from behind to beat Panathinaikos 3-1 and qualify for a possible semi-final tie with Real Madrid. A goal down from the first leg, Rexach picked an attacking line up, although the big surprise was that Patrick Kluivert started the game on the substitutes' bench. The game opened with controversy when the Greek keeper Nikopolidis was felled by an object thrown from the crowd, and the game was stopped for a couple of minutes while he was attended to. Then in the eighth minute the visitors took the lead with a shot out of nowhere from Konstantinou, an important away goal which meant that Barça had to score three to win the tie, and it could have been worse if Cocu had not blocked another effort by the striker a few minutes later.
The Catalans scored one of the goals they needed midway through the first half, a highly motivated Luis Enrique chesting down Saviola's chipped cross to turn the ball past Nikopolidis. Rivaldo put the keeper to the test a few minutes later, but as the clock ticked on Rexach went for broke, bringing on Kluivert for Coco just before half time to take advantage of a last minute free kick. At the same time Karagounis limped off for Panathinaikos with Michaelsen taking his place, and at the break Markarian (who was not on the bench due to a ban) made a second change, Olisadebe replacing Liberopoulos.
Four minutes after the restart Luis Enrique put Barcelona in front with his second of the night, heading a Rivaldo free kick past the stranded keeper. Then on the hour mark Xavi found Saviola with a defence splitting pass for him to score with a first time shot. The Spaniards were in front for the first time in the tie, and Saviola should have wrapped it up when he got free on the left. However instead of returning the ball to Luis Enrique who was unmarked in front of goal, he fired a shot from a wide angle against the upright. It could have been a costly mistake as the Greek side only needed one goal to take the tie on the away goals rule.
Gabri came on for Overmars to defend the lead, but five minutes later Bonano crashed into the ever dangerous Olisadebe, and as both players laid stretched out on the ground, Vlaovic carried on with the ball and crossed in for Konstantinou to poke the ball towards the empty net. It seemed a certain goal, but Puyol was there to clear off the line and save the day. Bonano was carried off semi-conscious wearing a neck brace, and Reina came on to take his place for the remaining minutes. And that seemed like an eternity, with seven minutes of extra time due to the injury and substitutions. Olisadebe and then Vlaovic gave the fans a near heart attack with shots which went just wide with the goal at their mercy, and when referee Urs Meier blew the final whistle there was an almighty sigh of relief. Now it was a question of wait and see whether Real Madrid would make it to their date with a victory against Bayern Munich in 24 hours time. All of Catalunya will be watching.