Thursday, October 04, 2012

Panathiniakos FC

Panathiniakos 1 Tottenham Hotspur 1 - UEFA Europa League, Group Stage

Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state. A centre for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato's Academy and Aristotle's Lyceum, it is widely referred to as the cradle of Western civilisation and the birthplace of democracy. Athens holds the World Meteorological Organisation record for the highest temperature ever recorded in Europe, at 48.0 °C (118.4 °F), which was recorded in the Elefsina and Tatoi suburbs of Athens on 10 July 1977.

Panathinaikos FC is the most successful Greek club in terms of achievements in European competitions. They reached the European Cup final in 1971 and the semi-finals in 1985 and 1996. Panathinaikos is the football department of Panathinaikos Athlitikos Omilos (PAO), a multi-sport club. In 1979, the department became professional and independent. They have played their home games in a number of grounds, most significantly the Apostolos Nikolaidis Stadium – which is considered to be their traditional home ground – and the Athens Olympic Stadium. The club holds a long-standing rivalry with Olympiacos and matches between the two teams are referred to as "Derby of the eternal enemies".

Στις αρχές του 1910, ο Σύλλογος μετονομάστηκε σε Π.Π.Ο (Πανελλήνιος Ποδοσφαιρικός Όμιλος) και συνέχισε να δραστηριοποιείται και να κερδίζει μεγάλων αριθμό φιλάθλων. Μετά το τέλος του Πρώτου Παγκοσμίου Πολέμου, ξαναρχίζει η ποδοσφαιρική δραστηριότητα με τον ΠΠΟ να έχει υιοθετήσει το πράσινο χρώμα και το έμβλημα του τριφυλλιού, το οποίο σχεδίασε ο Γιώργος Χατζόπουλος, διευθυντής της Εθνικής Πινακοθήκης και μέλος του Παναθηναϊκού. Το τριφύλλι «έφερε» στον Παναθηναϊκό, ο αθλητής και μετέπειτα Γ.Γ. του Συλλόγου, Μιχάλης Παπάζογλου, ο οποίος το φορούσε στην ομάδα Χαλκηδόνα της Κωνσταντινούπολης όπου αγωνιζόταν. 

The Olympic Stadium is in the area of Marousi in Athens; the stadium was originally designed in 1979 and built between 1980–1982. It has been used at various times as a home ground by the three major football clubs of the Athens area, AEK Athens, Panathinaikos and Olympiacos Piraeus. The record attendance for a football match has been 75,263 in a clash between Olympiacos and Hamburg on 3 November 1983. It hosted the 2007 UEFA Champions League Final on 23 May between AC Milan and Liverpool, which was won 2–1 by Milan, the 1994 Final also won by Milan, the 1983 Final as well as the 1987 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup Final.

The stadium has its own metro station from where it takes a little over 5 minutes to walk. There is a regular service to and from the centre of Athens. A 24 hour ticket costs 4 Euros. Considering that this is a relatively recent construction, the spectator facilities are rather disappointing. I particularly refer to the line of Portaloos in the visitors section of the ground. Not surprising the rest of the stadium is blessed with better facilities!

A decent view is afforded from all areas and this Pieman was fortunate to gain access to the stadium earlier in the day to take some photographs. Despite an open appearance, there is covered protection from the elements if necessary. Tottenham Hotspur managed to turn an easy victory into a draw and could even have lost the match in the closing minutes. Michael Dawson rose above the home defenders to glance in Tom Huddlestone's precise delivery in the 35th minute to give Spurs the lead. However Spurs paid for not turning their dominance into further goals when Toché latched on to a perfect through ball from right-back Giourkas Seitaridis to slide a low finish past Hugo Lloris and give some cheer to the vociferous home supporters.

The beer in Greece is not anything to write home about but I can recommend the kebabs and enormous sugared ring doughnuts purchased from an all night bakery in the centre (perfect for soaking up the bland beer – Ed).

Attendance: 17361
Admission: 15 Euros
Programme: None
Hot Dog: 2.5 Euros 

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