ATHENS - Panathinaikos coach Henk Ten Cate hopes his club's advance to the last 16 of the Champions League will help to calm the civil strife in Greece. The country has endured four days of rioting since 15-year-old Alexandros Grigoropoulos was shot dead by police in Athens on Saturday. Ten Cate said Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis had personally intervened to ensure that Tuesday's Group B game against Anorthos Famagusta, which Panathinaikos won 1-0, went ahead. "I know that the Prime Minister spoke to our (club) president today because there was a moment when maybe the game might be cancelled," said Ten Cate. "The government wanted the game to go ahead because they thought a Panathinaikos victory would produce a positive feeling. "I hope we have managed that and that the 70,000 who came to the game from all across Greece take that spirit away with them and hopefully things will calm down and the problems will be solved as quickly as possible." Ten Cate, praised his players, saying: "I don't know if it was difficult for them to focus but they tried and they did a fantastic job without forgetting what is going on in the streets. "We were staying away from the (Athens) city centre so we did not experience the problems first hand but obviously the guys were watching the news and reading the newspapers and it was terrible what we saw."
9 December 2008
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