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Brazilian brace gives Inter the points in Athens

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 16 Sep 2008

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Brazilians Mancini and Adriano scored a goal apiece to hand Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan side a 2-0 Group B Champions League victory over Panathinaikos Tuesday at a sold-out Athens Olympic Stadium.

Inter coach Mourinho sent on Adriano in the last minutes of the contest and the striker came good to score in the 85th minute and put the Italian side top of their group.

Adriano took a perfect pass from Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic who split the Panathinaikos defence and the Brazilian had no trouble lobbing the ball over the head of 'keeper Mario Galinovic.

Ibrahimovic also assisted on the first goal in the 27th minute of play. He controlled the ball from midfield and fought past two Panathinaikos defenders before offloading to a charging Mancini, who blasted his close-range effort past Galinovic.

In the 42nd minute Panathinaikos came close to drawing level when defender Bryce Moon blasted the ball from just inside the penalty area and an Inter defender deflected, the ball hitting the crossbar as 'keeper Julio Cesar watched motionless.

The hosts had their first opportunity in the second minute of play when Inter defender Ivan Cordova kicked away a shot by Panathinaikos striker Dimitris Salpingidis which seemed to be heading for the net.

Six minutes later, a low free kick by Panathinaikos' Marcelo Mattos went just wide of the left post.

Ibrahimovic missed a golden chance to score in the 10th minute when he took a perfect pass from Maicon from up close, but his shot was weak and trickled beyond the left post.

Three minutes later a bullet shot from outside the penalty box by Ricardo Quaresma was punched away by a diving Galinovic and in the 18th minute a blast from Ibrahimovic was again denied by the Greek team's 'keeper.

In the second half Panathinaikos seemed the most likely team to score. A shot by Cleyton just missed the target in the 52nd minute, a hard shot by Gilberto went just wide in the 59th minute and a free kick by substitute Andreas Ivanschitz nearly caught the Inter defence sleeping in the 68th minute but the ball bounced in front of Cesar who pushed it away from danger.

One last opportunity for the Greek team came in the 76th minute when substitute Lazaros Hristodoulopoulos' blast was tipped away by a diving Cesar.

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