After a dramatic 3-2 win in Athens, Greece last week Athletic Club will be hosting Panathinaikos on Thursday in the second leg of their Europa League knock-out tie. The Lions do hold a strong advantage going into the game, but that doesn’t mean that it will be easy at all. Following Wednesday’s training session Beñat spoke to the media saying that the Basques know that they need to win at the San Mamés in order to book their place in the group stage. He says that in Europe anyone can win and the Lions must be ready for a tough game.
“The result from the first leg is very good, but we have already seen the match there [in Greece]. Our mistakes have been corrected and hopefully we will not commit them when we play at home tomorrow. We cannot go out and speculate on results, we just know that we need to win and that is what we are planning to do. For them it will be intense from the start but we aren’t even thinking about defeat. They will go for the game from the beginning so we must be ready. They are much better than Dinamo. This is Europe and anyone can beat you.”
Beñat went on to say that Panathinaikos was very strong in the first meeting and took advantage of their chances. The midfielder admitted that Athletic still has a lot of room for improvement and that they will be ready for Thursday’s game. In addition, he refused to comment on his contract situation, but did state that he is very happy at Athletic Club.
“In the first leg they were very good. They told advantage of their opportunities and our mistakes, but we were able to turn it around. We have to be attentive to the small details. The Getafe match? To be the first league match our team played very well. We were in control for mostly the whole game, with chances, but we failed to score. The team is doing well and we know that we have a lot of room for improvement. My contract? It’s not the time to talk about that. Right now I’m focused on the match tomorrow. I’m very happy and comfortable and I think of nothing other than Athletic.”
Thursday’s match is going to be a very intense affair between two clubs that believe that they should be in the group stage. Athletic will be the favorites on paper due to the fact that they hold an advantage and are playing at home, but the Greeks have proven that they can play at a high level and cause a lot of problems for the Basques. A win or draw would guarantee Athletic’s advancement, and they could even lose under the right circumstances and still continue. Regardless, the Lions want to win at the San Mamés and not suffer through another dramatic finish.