Panathinaikos - 24h on
Updated Wednesday, 1st August 2012
Motherwell fans woke up the morning after the first leg defeat with a mixture of pride and disappointment.
Despite the loss it was a great night at a packed Fir Park. The big crowd delivered a terrific atmosphere and gave unwavering support to the team. Had we managed to convert any of the many half chances then hopes for the return leg would be realistic but it was not to be.
The Uefa coefficients give some indication of the task that we face. Panathinaikos (50.9) v Motherwell (6.7) always looked like a one sided competition but for much of the game we gave the visitors a tough time. If we can play in the same way in the SPL then we have every reason to anticipate another good season.
The crowd started to arrive early and the buzz outside the ground was an early indicator that we were in for an electric night on the other side of the turnstiles. Demand for the glossy match programmes kept the sellers busy and queues formed an hour before kick off. Inside the gates the East Stand display and the accompanying roar that greeted the teams must have given the players a big lift. The Champions League had arrived at Fir Park.
The loss of the first goal brought us back to earth with a bump but the team responded well. There was always a fear that the speed of the Panathinaikos attack and the danger of a breakaway might be our undoing and so it proved. If the 2 goal deficit was to be overcome it would cause headlines all over Europe but that won't stop those who are committed to travel to Athens from enjoying the trip.
Of more immediate concern will be the journey north at the weekend. With any luck there will be no hangover and a similar showing in Dingwall will surely get its reward.
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