Jimenez not losing focus, Ouzounidis proud of Panathinaikos effort
AEK Athens claimed a potentially decisive victory on Sunday, confidently dispatching Panathinaikos 3:0 at the Olympic Stadium to move a step closer to the club’s maiden Super League title for 24 years.
Under pressure to perform, AEK started slowly against Panathinaikos, but a superb Sergio Araujo strike got the ball rolling. Rodrigo Galo doubled the advantage in the second half finishing a clever move, before Araujo turned in his own rebound to seal the 3:0 triumph at a jubilant OAKA. The Enosis now boast an eight point lead in first place over PAOK Thessaloniki.
Following the large victory in the Greek capital, AEK head coach Manolo Jimenez was focused on clinching the Super League trophy: “When you run a marathon, the last kilometre is always the hardest,” stated the 54-year old Spaniard. “It was an important victory, because Panathinaikos have been playing well in their recent matches. After Sergio Araujo’s goal, the team started playing better. With this win, we are getting closer to winning the title, but nothing is over.”
Panathinaikos boss Marinos Ouzounidis was still pleased with his players’ effort despite the defeat: “Congratulations to AEK, they are very close to winning the championship,” said Ouzounidis. “It’s not nice to lose 0:3 in a derby match with 10 or 11 players, but I am pleased with the effort which our players displayed. We will try in the season’s remaining matches. Until the sending off, I think that we were better.”
AEK’s goalscoring hero Sergio Araujo spoke about his brilliant first goal, while touching upon his future: “When I saw Lazaros Christodoulopoulos giving me a pass, I made a move as to strike the ball with my stronger left foot. If we win the next four matches, no one can take the title away from us. Right now, I am thinking about helping AEK winning the championship, but I’m looking forward to seeing my daughter when the season ends. I am under contract at Las Palmas, so I don’t know what will happen in the future. For me, the key moment in the campaign was when Giorgos Giakoumakis scored in Piraeus. We started to believe that we can win.”
Ousmane Coulibaly, who missed a golden opportunity for Panathinaikos in the opening stages, shared his impressions: “Before the red card, we played very well and were confident in the match,” expressed a deflated Coulibaly. “If I had scored my chance, the flow of the match could have been different. When on the pitch, we only focus on the game and not on our problems.”