Ouzounidis Derby King
Marinos Ouzounidis - the man who has almost single-handedly kept Panathinaikos standing during these recent turbulent times, has acted as more than just a manager, and based on the massive derby win over Olympiakos, showed he has no intentions of letting up and will keep the battle going.
The former Panathinaikos player has acted with the utmost dignity and respect, acting as a symbol for hard work, persistence and determination in spite of Giannis Alafouzos “walking away” from the club and leaving the 49 year old with next to no resources to work off.
He could have very easily walked away in the summer when things began going pear-shaped off the field with key backroom staff and players departing, however, he stayed and backed his plan and players to deliver. The club might be a total mess off the field, but fans can take extreme pride and satisfaction knowing that every game they can witness a group of hungry players and coach walk out and live up to the club’s meaning of “fighting spirit”.
In a month’s time it will be 1 year since Ouzounidis has been Panathinaikos manager so it is a good time to look back on the derbies during that time, the games the fans look forward to most.
Seven wins in eleven matches is nothing short of exemplary and it could have been eight wins in twelve had the home playoff game against PAOK had finished as the Greens were winning 1-0 at the time it was called off. In addition to this, Leoforos has become a fortress with visiting teams struggling to find the back of the net, let alone win.
Here is a list of Panathinaikos’ results in derbies under Ouzounidis the derby king:
7 wins: 1-0 vs Olympiakos (home), 1-0 vs Olympiakos (home), 1-0 vs AEK (home), 2-0 vs PAOK (home), 1-0 vs PAOK (home), 3-2 vs AEK (away), 3-2 vs PAOK (away)
1 draw: 0-0 vs AEK (home)
3 losses: 1-0 vs AEK (away), 3-0 vs PAOK (away), 4-0 vs PAOK (away)
As it can be observed, under the watch of Ouzounidis, the Greens have not lost to Olympiakos and have not lost a home derby. Quite impressive when you consider the off-field turmoil. The most impressive result from this list according to many was the 3-2 away win over AEK in which the Trifili was the first team to beat the Enosi at home under their new manager Jimenez in a high-quality display from both sides, where a late Marcus Berg goal on the counter settled it on the night. The recent win over the Reds was also a sight to behold as a limited Panathinaikos side outplayed their more illustrious counterparts by winning most duels and fighting harder for every loose ball, showing a huge amount of passion along the way.
Ouzounidis and the players will be looking to continue this magnificent record when they face AEK and PAOK before the first half of the season ends.