Is it because Jacek Gmoch gave an order to the greens to show good game or the players themselves decided to demonstrate to their new coach what they can is not clear... It is a fact however that tonight Panathinaikos showed remarkably strong game and character. In a match against the team of Iraklis from the initial 0-2 it managed to reverse the score to the triumphant 4-2. The heroic work of the greens is an evidence that they not only want, but can perform feats on the pitch. With a lively and creative play and with great flair the players convinced everyone that tonight last season’s champion of the country is playing.
At the OAKA field a fantastic play presented Gilberto Silva and Djibril Cisse. The two forwards gave 100% of their powers. Cisse was hungry for goals and did not stop stalking the chance for every single goal position on the field. Gilberto Silva on the other hand, after his slow period, showed once again he is in great shape. Luis Garcia, who finally adjusted and started working well with his new team, also played well.
The game started with a great desire of Panathinaikos to win. An attempt to score as early as the third minute made Djibril Cisse, but the ball went out. Minute after this Luis Garcia tried out his strengths against the goalkeeper of Iraklis, but the ball was saved .... Attempts at goal during the 15th and 20th minutes made Cisse and Luis Garcia, but both ended hitting the post and respectively out. Although they failed to score a quick goal the hosts made it very clear that they will trouble Elevteropoulos until the end. Panathinaikos played in full power, as a "fixed up" mechanism. Concentrated entirely on the attack, however, the hosts made some mistakes in the defense. So no matter how paradoxical it sounds, first goal came not from them, but was scored by the guests... It was scored in the 20th minute by Mara. The 0-1 score was like a cold shower for the otherwise passionate hosts. Tensions escalated further when just a minute after that the guests scored and their second goal for the evening. The forward Pitou Garcia fought Dzorvas and the score changed to 0-2. To the greens’ horror Iraklis continued their attacks. In this stressful situation that their salvation came from Luis Garcia, who scored in the 30th minute and... gave the pitch for the offensive for his team. Panathinaikos was creating goal positions, but the success came at the end of the first half when Cisse took the ball from a corner by Garcia and sent it in the goal post of Elevteropoulos with a headshot. The score was draw and the first half ended with 2-2.
After the break the match started... from the beginning. Both teams entered the pitch determined to win. During the 50th minute however the scale leaned over to the side of Panathinaikos. Cisse scored with a headshot from a pass performed by Spiropoulos and the score was 3-2. Two minutes later Luis Garcia scored another goal, which, however, the referee canceled. It was clear that Panathinaikos was after a position for a fourth goal with which to consolidate their victory. During the 75th minute Petropoulos enter game in the place of the injured Cisse and made an unpleasant surprise when he scored a goal, which sealed the victory of the greens. During the 80th minute Karagounis also started an attack. The goalkeeper of Iraklis however removed the ball. Their last attempt to score a goal the guests made during the 85th minute when Jacob threatened the goal post with a ball from a header, but Dzorvas had the final word.
At a press conference after the match the coach of Iraklis, Marinos Ouzounidis said: "We played under very high pressure and we wanted to use some chances. In the first half we had a very good performance... Subsequently, however, instead of us being the ones in good psychological condition we became the weaker ones. The fast goal in the second half freed Panathinaikos. Yet I can not say that our team was not trying to play. At times we showed that we are very good. If however we want to make a step forward we have to think in a different way and believe more in our abilities. I want to wish success to Panathinaikos and its new coach".
Jesualdo Ferreira did not participate in the press conference, but the assistant coach Kshishtof Varzhiha spoke on behalf of Jacek Gmoch who took over the team until Monday. "I would like to thank Nikos Nioplias and Michalis Yordanidis for our cooperation. Before that I never had a chance to do that. I thank them very much because we worked together very well for almost a year. Now about the game: Overall, this was a very good game for our fans as well. There was tension and a lot of goals. I think that after the team found itself laying behind in the score by 2-0 it showed its character. Any opponent you play against, nowadays it is very difficult to reverse the 0-2 score to 4-2. The players deserve a lot of congratulations and I believe that little by little the team will find their rhythm and after a few games it will be better" - said Varzhiha.