Garcia still believing, Ouzounidis satisfied with effort

Garcia still believing, Ouzounidis satisfied with effort

Olympiacos’ title hopes suffered a major blow in Piraeus, as the reigning Greek champions were held to a frustrating 1:1 draw by ten-man Panathinaikos.

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Konstantinos Fortounis’ penalty looked to have given the Thrylos a vital victory in a tense eternal derby, but a late spot-kick from Panathinaikos midfielder Anthony Mounier denied Olympiacos the three points at an empty Karaiskakis Stadium.

After the final whistle, Olympiacos boss Oscar Garcia shared his emotions from the dramatic derby in Piraeus. “We did not have the physical capabilities to play at a high pace during the closing stages,” stated the Spaniard. “However, we are not out of the title race and we will fight until the end. If Uros Djurdjevic had scored one of his two chances, we could have won. There is a major problem concerning the players’ physical shape, but I cannot say who is responsible for that.”

On the other hand, Panathinaikos head coach Marinos Ouzounidis was pleased with his players’ efforts: “I told my players to play their style of football in the second half,” revealed Ouzounidis. “When the score was 1:0, we began playing better and took more risks. Substitutes like Mounier helped us. The guys showed that they didn’t want to lose, we actually had more scoring chances when playing with ten players. We will try to finish in fifth position.”

Silvio Proto, the 34-year old Olympiacos goalkeeper, refused to blame the referee for the draw. “Yes, it was a mistake for the goal, but the referee is human,” said Proto. “I think that we made more mistakes than the referee. I am very disappointed tonight, we needed to win this game. We had the chances to win, but we gave them a present. It will be difficult for us in the title race, nothing is in our hands.”

Panathinaikos’ scoring hero Anthony Mounier felt that the Greens deserved a point. “Olympiacos rarely caused problems for us, even when we had ten players. Personally, it was my first time playing at an empty stadium. We played well and had chances to win. Omri Altman wanted to take the penalty, but I told him that it’s mine.”

by Shaun Nicolaides
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