With goals from Argentinian winger Mancini (62′) and Palacios (84′), Panathinaikos, which saw the ball hit the crossbar three times, defeated Panaitolikos 2-0 and returned to the top of the standings.
Panathinaikos – Panaitolikos: This is how they played
Ivan Jovanovic’s Panathinaikos started with Brignoli under the posts. Huancar left back, Kotsiras right and Schenkefeld with Magnuson in the center of defense. Ruben, Kourbelis, Cerin in midfield. Mancini on the far left, Palacios on the right and Sporar at the top.
For Giannis Anastasiou’s Panaitolikos, Graterol was in defense of the home team. Right back Apostolakis, left Hatzitheodoridis and Mallis with Larson in the center of defense. Mladen, Huanpi, Martenson on axis. Duarte and Sengelia behind Karelis.
Two goals and a recital of missed opportunities for Panathinaikos
Panathinaikos was not good in the first twenty minutes and despite the overwhelming possession of the ball it had, with the exception of a foul by Magnuson in the 4th minute, it failed to threaten Panaitolikos’ goal effectively, being very bad and with many wrong choices in the attacking third.
From the 25th minute onwards, the “clover”, led by Kotsira from the right, increased its performance and in the 28th minute it came close to the goal, with Larson on the line, clearing Sporar’s shot. In… caps, Senkefeld sent the ball out with a header, although unmarked after Mancini’s corner kick.
The home team’s pressure increased in the following minutes and in the 39th minute Kourbelis hit the visitors’ post from the height of the penalty, just as Huancar also hit the post with a shot from outside the area in the 41st minute.
The Canaries were trying in the open field to threaten, I had some nice quick transitions but they lacked the right option on the final pass.
Made in Argentina
The image of the game did not change in the second half, with Panathinaikos pressing but unable to find rhythm, speed and opportunities. In the 58th minute, Huancar’s terrible shot found the crossbar of Panaitolikos again, Sengelia threatened in the 60th minute and four minutes later redemption came for Jovanovic’s team.
In one of the few opportunities the opponent gave him to run in the open field, Palacios shot weakly, Graterol lost the ball and Kourbelis with a monument-calm pass, passed to Mancini who opened the scoring in an empty net.
In 75′, Sporar was beaten in a 4-on-4 by Graterol, in 79′, Kleinheisler’s shot went just wide and finally the second goal came… from Argentina. Sebastian Palasios took the rebound from Graterol’s intervention on Ioannidis’ header and “cleaned up” the game for his team with 2-0.
Panathinaikos did their job tonight, did the obvious and returned to the top at +2 from AEK who play on Wednesday against Atromitos in Peristeri.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Dimitris Kourbelis. The Panathinaikos captain had an excellent game tonight at Leoforos and it was he who immediately recognized Graterol’s mistake and showed tremendous clarity in securing the goal with the pass to Mancini. It has been in excellent condition lately.
IN HIS HEIGHT: Yannis Kotsiras. The Greek full-back reminded quite a bit of his good self last year. He took many individual actions from the right, created cracks and when the “clover” seemed to “stick” he took and carried the ball and brought out a football personality. If he had more substance in his final choices and avoided a big mistake in the 45th minute, he would have been even better.
Sengelia stood out for Panaitolikos. He was the only one who threatened, in 91′ Brignoli told him “no” with a great intervention.
WEAK LINK: The Panaitolikos defense had two slow reactions to… rebounds and paid dearly for it.
The blunder: In the 62nd minute, Graterol made a very bad intervention on the weak shot of Palacios, he lost the ball through his arms and gave the opportunity to Kourbelis to give a very easy assist to Mancini to open the scoring.
THE STRAGALI: Karelis’ goal in the 5th minute is rightly disallowed by the supervisor, Dimitriadis, as the Greek centre-forward was in an offside position. Good refereeing by Papadopoulos.
THE GAZZETTA FUND: Panathinaikos, with a good performance, several opportunities and too much stress until the 60th minute, defeated Panaitolikos 2-0 with goals from Mancini and Palasios and is back on top of the scoreboard.
PANATHINAIKOS: Brignoli, Kotsiras, Senkefeld, Magnuson, Huancar (87′ Pouchats), Kourbelis (86′ Tsokai), Pereth, Tserin, Palasios, Sporar (77′ Ioannidis), Mancini (71′ Kleinheisler).
PANARITOLIK: Graterol, Apostolakis, Malis, Larson, Hatzitheodoridis (86′ Houchumis), Mladen, Martenson (86′ Nosirou), Sengelia, Huanpi (72′ Bouzoukis), Duarte (72′ Morsey), Karelis (72′ Joao Pedro).