Highlights from Fir Park as a brave Motherwell side crashed to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Greek giants Panathinaikos in the UEFA Champions League.
TV: Panathinaikos HighlightsTuesday 31 July 2012
TV: Mixed emotions for McCallTuesday 31 July 2012
‘Well boss Stuart McCall had mixed emotions after watching a brave Motherwell side crash to a 2-0 defeat at home to Panathinaikos.
The Steelmen created a number of good chances throughout the ninety minutes but were unable to properly test Orestis Karnezis in the away goal.
However, the Greeks were clinical with Lazaros Christodoulopoulos and Charis Mavrias giving them a commanding 2-0 advantage to take back to Athens next week.
Despite the harsh scoreline, McCall was upbeat and praised his players and the fantastic Fir Park crowd for their night’s work.
[pullquote]We’ve created chances and maybe picked the wrong options at times but over the 90 minutes I couldn’t be more pleased with their performance, the fans performance and I just don’t think we got the score we merited.[/pullquote]
“I have mixed emotions after that,” said McCall.
“I’m pleased that the players came out and got to the standard that we wanted from them. I think sometimes crowds can lift players and players can lift crowds and I thought that worked both ways tonight.
“The fans were outstanding. The noise and to see the stands full was terrific. The players, for parts of the game, dominated it.
“We’ve created chances and maybe picked the wrong options at times but over the 90 minutes I couldn’t be more pleased with their performance, the fans performance and I just don’t think we got the score we merited.
“We deserved at least a goal.”
Panathinaikos defeat in picturesTuesday 31 July 2012
Pictures from the 2-0 defeat by Panathinaikos in the Champions League Third Qualifying Round at Fir Park.
These action shots and more are available to buy online at www.motherwellpics.com.
Motherwell 0 – 2 PanathinaikosTuesday 31 July 2012
Kris Jack at Fir Park
A freak free-kick and a late breakaway goal left Motherwell with an uphill task if they are to progress in the UEFA Champion’s League.
Lazaros Christodoulopoulos’ early whipped set piece evaded all in the box to bounce behind Darren Randolph to give Panathinaikos the lead on 13 minutes.
Despite having the lion’s share of chances and possession, Stuart McCall’s men couldn’t find a leveller.
Substitute Charis Mavrias doubled the lead with his first touch, when he converted Sissoko’s pass on the break.
It now means Motherwell need to score at least twice in Athens without conceding to take anything from the tie.
For Motherwell’s first ever outing in Europe’s Premier competition, Stuart McCall opted for as experienced a side as he could put out. Keith Lasley donned the armband for the first time in competitive action since being named Captain, with latest signing Simon Ramsden taking the place of previous skipper Stephen Craigan in defence.
Shaun Hutchinson partnered the new boy at the back, while the rest of the starting XI took a familiar shape, with Higdon, Ojamaa and Murphy leading the attack, supported by Humphrey and Law. Tom Hateley and veteran Stevie Hammell filled the full back roles, while Darren Randolph was charged with keeping out the dreaded away goal.
Panathinaikos lined up with former Rangers defender Jean Alain Boumsong and Ibrahim Sissoko the most recognisable of the Greek sides men. Euro 2012 performer Katsouranis started on the bench, while Greek international skipper Giorgios Karagounis was left at home after a contract dispute. Toche and Lazaros would provide their main attacking threat, with recent forward signing Bruno Fornaroli hoping to make an impact from the bench.
With a noisy and colourful home crowd urging the Well on at kick off, the very least that was expected was a performance, and despite efforts from Lazaros and Toche early on, The Steelmen settled in to the game fairly well. Jamie Murphy, playing out on the left flank, played in Henrik Ojamaa on the edge of the box, but the Estonian’s effort was well blocked out by Boumsong. A well worked corner kick soon after almost paid dividends for ‘Well, when the set piece was worked to Humphrey at the edge of the box, but the Jamaican’s effort sailed just over the bar.
Despite carving the better chances, Motherwell fell behind on 14 minutes. A soft free kick on the left flank was delivered in to the box by Lazaros, and with Boumsong running across Randolph’s eye line, the ball swerved past the Irish keeper and in to the net. It evoked memories of the Nancy second leg, but with still plenty of the tie to go, the home fans got behind their team and urged them on to get back in to it.
Humphrey was identified as a threat on the wing, but his run wasn’t picked up at the back post, when he connected with Murphy’s deep cross. The ball bounced up as he tried to direct it on target though, resulting in him only finding the side netting.
Skipper Lasley then broke through the Pana defence, after a nice reverse ball from Murphy, but it fell on his weaker left foot, with his shot failing to hit the target. It was an impressive response from the home side to going a goal behind, and they certainly came in to the ascendancy.
Velasquez did well to block out Ojamaa before Michael Higdon headed straight at Karnezis from another threatening Murphy ball in. The Steelmen were certainly asking questions of their Greek opponents.
However, they were almost suckered with a quick-thinking throw allowed Lazaros time and space to line up a strike but he pulled his effort just wide. Shortly after, and with the interval approaching, Randolph made a great fingertip stop from Zeca’s 30 yard pile driver.
Within seconds of the restart, it could have been two nil, when Lazaros, broke free and shot just wide of Randolph’s left hand post.
Motherwell responded by firing balls in to the box, but Boumsong and Velasquez were equal to all thrown at them. A free kick from Hateley was bent in to the box, but Murphy’s front post effort was touched past by Vitolo.
Nicky Law, who had bossed the midfield beside Lasley all night, then roused the crowd with an effort from distance which the Greek keeper spilled, and had to sharply gather at the second attempt. Minutes later, a driven delivery from Hateley found the head of Higdon but his nodded attempt was again straight at Karnezis who gathered fairly easily.
Motherwell were providing much of the attacking threat and Boumsong had to make a timely block after Ojamaa had fed Law running in to the box, as the Steelmen sought an equaliser.
A sliced clearance from Randolph had claret and amber hearts in mouths, but fortunately the resultant corner was cleared to safety, allowing Ojamaa to break clear one-on-one with the last defender. With Murphy haring up the left hand side in support, all the Estonian had to do was play in ‘Well’s all time leading European goal scorer, but he opted to do too much on his own, allowing Velasquez to close the ball out for a corner.
It was a decent chance, and soon after the hosts were to pay the price for their lack of cutting edge.
As Motherwell pressed in the attacking third, Ojamaa was dispossessed with the ball falling to the tricky Sissoko. Despite the close attentions of the impressive pairing of Ramsden and Hutchinson, he managed to thread a pass to Mavrias, who coolly slotted the ball through Randolph’s legs and in to the net despite just entering the match as a substitute.
It was a cruel blow for McCall’s men.
The Greeks played the rest of the game, knowing the match was possibly over as a contest, with Omar Daley, who had replaced Ojamaa, conjuring up a half chance as the game rolled in to the 90th minute.
As the full time whistle blew, the 9035 fans in attendance applauded the teams off the park, knowing that the game was much tighter than the scoreline suggests.
A trip to Dingwall on Saturday will give the players another run out before the return leg in Athens next midweek.
[tab:As it happened]
Alastair Reilly at Fir Park
FULL TIME Motherwell 0-2 Panathinaikos
90mins: That’s is cruel but then that is football. You have to take your chances when you get them,
90mins: Should really have been 3. Fornaroli snatching at his shot from inside the area and blazing well over.
89mins: 4 added minutes
87mins: Actually that was Sissoko. He’s now back on.
86mins: The stretcher is on….looks like Zeca that is down. No more subs left if he fails to play on.
84mins: Though we had a pen there. Velazquez appeared to handle and the ref blew the whistle. Unfortunately it was for offside.
83mins: Pana’ Sub: Lazaros off for Fornaroli
82mins: It almost came there are Murphy cut the ball across the face of goal. Unfortunately nobody was there to convert.
82mins: Time to rally here and try and get a goal back. 2 corners in a row….
77mins: ‘Well sub: Daley on for Ojamaa.
75mins: GOAL: The sub makes it 2-0 with a low shot through Randolphs legs.
74mins: Pana sub: Toche off for Mavrias.
73mins: Zeca booked for a late challenge on Murphy.
71mins: Ugh. Ojamaa had Murphy clear on the overlap but failed to spot him and lost possession. had he done so, Murph was clean through.
70mins: A sliced clearance from Randolph allowed Zeca a clear run at goal. He showed no urgency and Ramsden slid in to clear.
66mins: Pana’ Sub: Marinos off for Katsouranis, who, of course, featured at EURO 2012.
63mins: Good spell of possession there for ‘Well no real chances but you can feel something coming if they keep going like this.
58mins: Law finds himself free inside the box on the angle. As he pulls the trigger, Velazquez slides in to block.
57mins: 9035 fans here tonight.
56mins: Dangerous free-kick for Pana’ just outside the box… Toche strikes straight into the wall.
51mins: And another good chance. Higdon with the bullet header which Karnezis is equal to. Great spell.
50mins: Law from 30 yards tests Karnezis. The ‘keeper spills it and the ball trickles goalbound. Good recovery though,
49mins: Lazaros edges into the box but slices his shot well into the South stand,
48mins: A positive start to the second half from Motherwell!
47mins: Hateley whips it in but Pana’ clear their lines.
47mins: A chance here. Free kick from a wide position…..deflected out for a corner.
46mins: 30 yard free-kick from Hateley stings Karnezis hands.
45mins: Almost off to a terrible start. Lazaros coming far too close for comfort with a long range effort.
45mins: Big 45 minutes coming up here! The teams are back out and we’re off!
HALF TIME: And there is the half-time whistle.
43mins: Almost half time and perhaps we’re a little unfortunate to be 1 down. Let’s nick a goal before we go to the break.
39mins: My goodness. That’s a great save from Randolph there! Brilliant effort from Zeca, acrobatically tipped over.
36mins: Pana’ starting to get back in this. Good chance for Toche there. He had time to run in but opted to shoot instead….thankfully.
34mins: Lazaros cuts inside and shoots just past. That looked too close for comfort.
33mins: So close again! Higgy rises well to direct a header goalbound from 10 yards. Straight at the keeper.
31mins: Corner Motherwell. Come on! Easily gathered by Karnezis though.
29mins: And up the other end it’s another half chance for Henrik. Just couldn’t get a clean strike on the ball and Karnezis gathers easily.
27mins: Uh-oh. A heart in mouth moment there as Pana’ swing in a tasty looking corner. Randolph scrambles off his line and claws clear.
25mins: And again! Lasley latched onto a great through ball however it was on his left side and he drilled it well over. Encouraging though!
23mins: Almost. ALMOST! Humphrey ghosts in at the back post but can’t quite get enough on it to direct it goalwards.
19mins: ‘Well starting to string some passes together. Exactly what is needed right now. However, on the break they look dangerous. Sissoko looks a real handful.
17mins: Corner for Panathinaikos… The Steelmen deal with the threat
11mins: It was an in-swinger – one of those ones where the delivery so good if nobody touches it, it will go in. Need to dig in now.
13mins -GOAL: Chistodopoulos. Its 1-0. Free kick from the edge of the box evades everyone and find the back of the net. Shades of Nancy in 2008.
9mins: Ohhhh! Almost a wonder strike from Humphrey there. Must have from been all of 30 yards and it flies just over. Unlucky!
8mins: It’s 100mph stuff now.
6mins: Another half chance there for ‘Well. Ojamaa latches onto Murphys ball.He slides in but his effort is blocked.
4mins: Oooohh, got a bit loud there. Hateley’s deep curled ball looked Higdon bound but Seitaidis did enough to cut it out.
3mins: Lazaros blazes well over. ‘Well will need to be wary of him.
3mins: Danger. Sissoko wins a free-kick just outside the box.
1mins: Usual start really. Fir Park is bouncing.
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall:
“I think we more than matched them. I don’t think the scoreline reflected the performance. I just wanted the lads to put in a performance their families and the fans would be proud of and they did that.
“I’m disappointed with the goals. We talked about not giving silly free-kicks away with the boy’s ability from set-pieces. We didn’t want to go out with a whimper. We were pressing and probing and most people thought the goal was coming.
“It would have been nice if we could have got it to 1-1, but it wasn’t to be.”
Panathinaikos manager Jesualdo Ferreira:
“We experienced pressure from Motherwell, but whenever we had the opportunity to break quickly, we created problems.
“Motherwell work hard and play football that is difficult to control, but I thought we deserved the win.”
Fan information: PanathinaikosTuesday 31 July 2012
With a sell-out crowd expected tonight, Motherwell fans are encouraged to get to the match as early as possible to ease congestion at the turnstiles.
Gates at Fir Park will open from 5.30pm to help spread out the entry period to the ground.
Fans sitting in the East Stand should also note that a Claret and Amber card display will take place prior to the match. Matchday Magazines are available now from the ‘Well Shop and from sellers in and around the ground.
Finally, Motherwell has established a reputation at Europe’s governing body as being a very friendly, welcoming and well-behaved club and that is down to you, the supporters.
Your help in maintaining and growing that reputation tonight in the spirit of the UEFA Respect campaign would be much appreciated.
TV: Lasley excited by Euro challengeMonday 30 July 2012
Motherwell skipper Keith Lasley has spoke of his excitement at leading Motherwell out for their first ever Champions League clash.
Lasley, 32, has taken over the Captaincy following the retirement of legendary defender Stephen Craigan back in May
Now the midfielder can’t wait to test himself against the cream of Europe after waiting months for the game to come around.
[pullquote]“We know it’s going to be difficult and that we’re big underdogs in the tie but we’ve got to back ourselves to go in with a shot and do our best.[/pullquote]
“Since the draw was made, it’s got a bit more real. We know who we’ve got and as the days have gone on, with the big build up to it, the excitement has just built and built.
“I just can’t wait to get out there now and get going. The pitch is looking great and I think there should be a big crowd in. The players are up for it. We’re up against a good side with good European pedigree so it all bodes well for a big night here tomorrow.
“We know it’s going to be difficult and that we’re big underdogs in the tie but we’ve got to back ourselves to go in with a shot and do our best.
“We never got to this stage just to make up the numbers. We done all the hard work last season to get into this position and we don’t want to just throw it away.”
TV: McCall up for Greek testMonday 30 July 2012
‘Well boss Stuart McCall says his players are as prepared as they can be ahead of tomorrow night’s Champions League clash with Panathinaikos.
The Steelmen face the Greek giants in one of the biggest matches in the clubs’ 126-year history.
McCall and the players have been studying DVD’s of Jesualdo Ferreira’s side in pre-season and despite the massive financial gap between both clubs, the former Scotland midfielder is hopeful his men can upset the odds.
[pullquote]If you’re in a competition, any game, you want to try and win it.[/pullquote]
He said: “Naturally we will be underdogs but we’ve managed to get our hands on a couple of DVDs from their pre-season and there is no doubt they have quality players in their ranks but we’ve just got to do our best in the home game and in an ideal world we’d have a clean sheet and maybe sneak a goal.
“It would be nice to still be in it when we go over there.
“Now it is the last week of preparation since our last pre-season game which has been focused on the match tomorrow. If you’re in a competition, any game, you want to try and win it.
“We are under no illusions over how difficult it will be but first and foremost we believe we have a chance and we’re going to give it our best shot.
“I sense the players are really looking forward to it and I just hope they do themselves justice.”
‘Well players prepare for EuropeMonday 30 July 2012
The Motherwell players were put through their paces at Dalziel Park this morning ahead of tomorrow’s Champions League clash with Panathinaikos at Fir Park.
Free buses to DingwallMonday 30 July 2012
Ahead of the SPL opener at the weekend, Ross County have very kindly offered to meet the costs of Supporters Coaches heading to Dingwall.
In what is a fantastic gesture from the newly promoted side, any ‘Well fan going will now be able to travel free of charge via any Supporters Association coaches heading to the match.
To secure your spot, get in touch with any of the affiliated branches: CLICK HERE FOR CONTACT DETAILS.
[pullquote]“It’s also a clear demonstration of football clubs in the SPL working together and showing solidarity in difficult financial times.[/pullquote]
Chief Executive Leeann Dempster said, “I would like to acknowledge and thank Roy MacGregor and the rest of the board at Ross County FC for such a wonderful gesture.
“It is particularly welcome given the additional costs, travelling and sacrifices ‘Well fans have to make due to the clubs’ participation in European competition.
“It’s also a clear demonstration of football clubs in the SPL working together and showing solidarity in difficult financial times.
“I hope as many Motherwell fans can make the journey north for our first ever competitive match at the Global Energy Stadium to open what is sure to be an exciting season ahead.”
Tickets for the match in Dingwall are available now from the Fir Park Ticket Office: CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION.
Pre-order your Euro Magazine nowSaturday 28 July 2012
Motherwell take on Panathinaikos in the UEFA Champions League this Tuesday but you can pre-order your matchday magazine now.
Not only is this game the biggest in the club’s 126-year history, the magazine will be the biggest and arguably the best ever produced for a ‘Well game.
An astonishing 84-page publication priced at just £4, it represents a piece of history that you simply mustn’t miss.
But what’s inside…?
Well, there is the usual update from both Stuart McCall and the club skipper Keith Lasley who both look forward to an historic night. Chief Executive Leeann Dempster, the spine of the clubs’ progress in recent years, also introduces the magazine and welcomes everyone to the match.
The Hamilton Advertiser’s Andy McGilvray has an exclusive chat with Tom Hateley; the full-back talks about trying to overcome the odds against the Greek giants and bathing in the riches of the later rounds of the competition.
But that’s not where the features end. Judith Toner, formerly of the Wishaw Press, caught up with the legendary Stephen Craigan, the clubs’ most apped player in European competition, to ask what it will be like watching as opposed to taking part in such a high-profile match for the Steelmen.
The Press Association’s Gavin McCafferty spoke exclusively with national boss Craig Levein on his hopes for Scottish clubs in Europe and the continued progression of young Scottish talent at the highest level.
The features keep coming…
Celebrity Steelman Tam Cowan recalls tales of Euro trips past in his own unique and, at times, colourful manner. It’s a laugh-a-second article that you absolutely cannot miss although perhaps the easily-offended might want to skip a page. Club director Andrew Wilson also jotted down his experiences and pictures from the draw in his Diary of Nyon which gives an interesting insight into some of the nuts and bolts of the operational side of the UEFA machine.
There is also an 18-page section dedication to our visitors from Greece. Not only is there the low-down on the club and the recent changes at the Olympic Stadium, but a player-by-player account of the stars likely to line up in green at Fir Park.
The Scottish Sun’s Kenny MacDonald caught a word with Panathinaikos’ French defender Jean-Alain Boumsong about what he and his teammates expect from their trip to Lanarkshire. There is a breakdown of Greek footy, a bio of Greek players who have graced the SPL as well as a guide to Athens for those travelling over for the return leg.
But wait, there’s even more…
Craig Anderson, author of the excellent SPL Stats blog, has penned a detailed account of the rise and success of the Champions League tournament. We’ve got a good luck message page with everyone from the ‘Greatest Ever’ Andy Payton, through Ian St John, Willie Pettigrew and Joe Wark to James McFadden and David Clarkson.
Don’t miss the Euro Quiz and a review of the Under 16’s who picked up the prestigious Dennis Law trophy in Aberdeen recently. There is also match reports from Everton and Accies as well as the latest up-to-date ticket information.
This is one piece of Motherwell history you won’t want to miss.
Magazines will be in the ‘Well Shop from Monday and sellers will be outside the ground before the match in their usual spots.
To make sure, you can pre-order now and have one sent to your home, getting there on the day of the match. Do that by CLICKING HERE.