|2004 Legends||1 - 1||Inter Forever|
|Katsouranis 51'||(2 - 4)
Greece’s famous European Champions of 2004 were reunited on Wednesday but Otto Rehhagel’s icons could not quite summon up the spirit of Portugal as they were beaten 4-2 on penalties by a select Inter Milan XI after an entertaining charity match in Crete ended in a 1-1 draw.
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It was a night to remember at a packed Pankritio Stadium in Heraklion as Greece’s renowned Euro 2004 squad, ‘The 2004 Legends’, took on an ‘Inter Forever’ team in a celebration of football organized for the Orama Elpidas children’s cancer charity.
The likes of Theo Zagorakis, Euro 2004’s man of the tournament, Giorgos Karagounis, Angelos Charisteas, Angelos Basinas, Traianos Dellas and Demis Nikolaidis were all present for Greece, while the biggest ovation was reserved for ‘King Otto’ Rehhagel when he walked onto the pitch.
Inter also featured a star-studded line-up with Argentina legend Javier Zanetti, former Italy stars Marco Materazzi and Francesco Toldo, as well as other big names such as Cristian Chivu, Benito Carbone and Mohammed Kallon included.
Although the match was a friendly, with the proceeds from ticket sales going to help Orama Elpida as well as several philanthropic foundations in Crete, you would not have guessed it as both teams went at each other in what was a highly competitive affair.
Inter had started strongly and went ahead after 38 minutes following a sensational solo run by former Honduras striker David Suazo.
The 37-year-old, who scored 17 goals in 57 appearances for his country, skipped past several challenges before sliding a neat pass into the path of Mohammed Kallon, who slotted past Kostas Chalkias.
Greece were impressive though, with many of the Euro 2004 stars such as Karagounis, Vasilis Tsiartas, Basinas and Katsouranis still in good shape, and they pulled level in the 51st minute.
Katsouranis was both the architect and executioner. The former AEK, Benfica, Panathinaikos and PAOK midfielder, who won 116 caps for Greece, sent striker Dimitris Papadopoulos clean through on goal and after his shot was saved by a chubby-looking Sebastian Frey in the Inter goal, ‘Katsour’ was on hand to slot in the rebound.
On the hour mark Karagounis, who had been one of the liveliest players in the match, switched from Greece to Inter colours. The former Greece skipper replaced Olivier Dacourt having been replaced himself by Zagorakis for Greece.
Neither side could find a winning goal in normal time, however, so the match went to straight to penalties with many of the layers looking suitably exhausted.
Inter’s players were the most composed from 12 yards, with Materazzi, Olivier Dacourt, Carbone and Chivu all scoring. Basinas and Papadopoulos netted for Greece, but Giorgos Georgiadis had his kick saved, while Pantelis Kafes sent his effort wide meaning Inter won the shootout 4-2.
A short presentation of the trophy followed, with Inter’s players enjoying their success and smiles all round as the players embraced each other and shared more than a few jokes and laughs together.
Below are pictures from gazzetta,gr and highlights from the friendly.