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Atletico secure crucial win at Panathinaikos

  • Story Highlights
  • Atletico Madrid beat Panathinaikos 3-2 in Champions League qualifier first leg
  • Lyon look poised for a 10th year in competition after thumping Anderlecht 5-0
  • Zurich, Debrecen and Maccabi Haifa also edge closer to reaching group stage
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(CNN) -- Spanish Primera Liga side Atletico Madrid have got one foot in the Champions League group stage after claiming a crucial 3-2 success at Greek side Panathinaikos in a tough qualifying round first leg encounter on Wednesday.

Maxi Rodriguez celebrates scoring the opening goal in Atletico Madrid's 3-2 win in Greece.

Maxi Rodriguez celebrates scoring the opening goal in Atletico Madrid's 3-2 win in Greece.

The visitors took a 1-0 lead in the 36th minute when Diego Forlan set up Maxi Rodriguez who took the ball around Panathinaikos goalkeeper Mario Galinovic to score.

Panathinaikos levelled in the 47th minute when Dimitris Salpingidis, who had an earlier goal disallowed, flicked the ball over Atletico keeper Sergio Asenjo.

However, Forlan restored the Spaniards' lead in the 63rd minute when he followed-up Rodriguez's blistering drive which had come back off the post.

In-demand Argentine striker Sergio Aguero made it 3-1 in the 70th minute but Panathinaikos substitute Sebastian Leto closed the gap four minutes later to give the Greek side some hope.

In the night's other matches, French side Lyon stormed closer to a 10th successive group stage appearance with a tumping 5-1 victory over Anderlecht.

The Ligue 1 outfit had the match sewn up before half-time with Miralem Pjanic, a Lisandro Lopez penalty, Michel Bastos and Bafetimbi Gomis giving them a four-goal cushion.

Anderlecht, beaten in Champions League qualifying for the last two seasons, pulled one back through Matias Suarez in the 58th minute, but Claude Puel's Lyon side restored their four-goal advantage inside five minutes with Gomis grabbing his second of the night.

Swiss side FC Zurich took a giant step closer to playing in the competition for the first time in 28 years by claiming a 3-0 lead at Latvian side Ventspils.

Goals from Johan Vonlathen, Sylvan Aegerter and Dusan Djuriuc look almost certain to put Zurich into the last 32 of the competition.

Debrecen edged closer to becoming Hungary's first Champions League group stage participants since 1996 when they claimed a 2-1 advantage at Levski Sofia in Bulgaria.

Laszlo Bodnar gave the Hungarians the lead but Levski levelled at the start of the second period with a fine strike from Cedric Bardon. However, 14 minutes from time, Peter Czvitkovics claimed Debrecen's winner.

Israeli champions Maccabi Haifa were also winners on the road with a goal six minutes from time from substitute Shlomi Arbeitman earning a 2-1 win at Salzburg.

Georgian striker Vladimer Dvalishvili headed Haifa in front before Alexander Zickler equalized on 57 minutes for the Austrians.

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