The official website for European football

Malesani fuels Panathinaikos belief

Published: Wednesday 24 August 2005, 10.45CET
Coach Alberto Malesani insisted that "nothing is impossible in life" after Panathinaikos FC's remarkable extra-time victory against Wisla Kraków.
by Vassiliki Papantonopoulou & Michael Harrold
from Athens
Published: Wednesday 24 August 2005, 10.45CET

Malesani fuels Panathinaikos belief

Coach Alberto Malesani insisted that "nothing is impossible in life" after Panathinaikos FC's remarkable extra-time victory against Wisla Kraków.

Panathinaikos FC coach Alberto Malesani praised his players' resolve after Ilias Kotsios's dramatic extra-time winner earned the Greek side a place in the UEFA Champions League group stage at Wisla Kraków's expense. "This qualification is the fruit of my players' will and determination," the Italian said. "Nothing is impossible in life."

Olisadebe goal
Trailing 3-1 from the first leg, Panathinaikos forced their way back into the third qualifying round encounter with goals from Nasief Morris and Emmanuel Olisadebe midway through the second half. The Greens were ahead on the away goals rule until Radoslaw Sobolewski struck for Wisla 12 minutes from time to swing the tie back in the Polish champions' favour.

Sobolewski off
Dimitrios Papadopoulos then scored with three minutes remaining to send the game into extra time. Panathinaikos's task was eased slightly by the 90th-minute dismissal of Sobolewski, and the hosts made the man advantage count, Kotsios heading in to complete a remarkable 4-1 victory with a penalty shoot-out looming.

'Nothing is impossible'
"I talked to my players for just two minutes at half-time," Malesani said. "I told them nothing is impossible in life, that they should have faith. I also reminded them of the Champions League final between [AC] Milan and Liverpool [FC]. I am the first to believe that anything can happen and I tried to remind them of that. I want to congratulate them and thank them – some of them played 120 minutes and were running 100 kilometres an hour despite having cramp."

'Heaven and hell'
Midfielder Anthony Šeric insisted Panathinaikos never lost hope despite their first-leg defeat. "We gave everything we had to win and qualify," he said. "I knew deep down that we would not waste this opportunity. It was a trip from heaven to hell and back - an unforgettable experience."

Last updated: 24/08/05 14.43CET

Related information

Team profiles

http://www.uefa.com/uefachampionsleague/news/newsid=329239.html#malesani+fuels+panathinaikos+belief

UEFA.com features

The greatest teams of all time: Inter 1962–67
  • The greatest teams of all time: Inter 1962–67
  • The highs and lows of Ancelotti's Madrid tenure
  • Dudek hails Europa League final opportunity
  • Snap shot: Liverpool's Istanbul heroes
  • Gerrard leaving Liverpool: an appreciation
  • How promoted Kaiserslautern won the Bundesliga
  • Skipper Passlack on his Germany U17 squad mates
  • France captain Cognat introduces his team-mates
  • Story so far: Sevilla FC
  • Story so far: FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk
1 of 10
 
  • © 1998-2015 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The UEFA word, the UEFA logo and all marks related to UEFA competitions, are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.