Panathinaikos beats Inter Milan 3-2 in Toronto showdown!!
This past Tuesday August 3rd Panathinaikos came to Toronto to play Inter Milan at the Rogers Centre. I was there sitting midfield 13th row with my brother. It ended up being a great game. Panathinaikos is coming off a great year in which it included winning the Greek Super League and Greek Cup this past season. Inter Milan this past season won the 2010 Champions League, Scudetto and Coppa Italia titles. It was a great game even though Inter didnt have Julio Cesar playing or Wesley Sneijder there. Early on, Inter didnt seem to intent on attacking early on as Panathinaikos was coming at Inter really strong in the early going. Djibril Cisse who played for France in the world cup put on a show early on. In the 13th minute, Panathinaikos winger Sebastian Leto made a really nice pass from the left side of the penalty area to Cisse who was right infront of the goal as Paolo Orlandoni Inter’s backup keeper stopped the first shot, but Cisse was able to put in the rebound. Panathinaikos had the early lead 1-0. Then Cisse celebration was really nice he did a series of backflips as the Panathinaikos fans went crazy. Cisse made it two to zero not to long after in the 22nd minute, he got the ball at the midfield and picked up speed, Inter's defenders kept going back towards their own goal. Once Cisse was about 20 yards out from the goal he just fired a laser shot that went into the back of the net making it 2-0 for Panathinaikos. Samuel Eto’o scored, slamming the ball into an open goal after a scramble in the Panathinaikos penalty area in the 32nd minute of the game. Leto got the two goal lead back before halftime, chipping the ball over Orlandoni after his team got off to a four on one break on the Inter defence. With about 20 minutes left in the game, Inter coach Rafael Benitez brought in his big guns finally everyone was waiting for the big stars to come in. Benitez brought in Maicon, Lucio, Sulley Muntari, Walter Samuel and Diego Milito were welcomed with big cheers from the crowd. That is when the game got really interesting and more fun. The stars for Inter started to take over and get more ball control and get more quality chances. In the 79 minute things got interesting when Cisse got into a shoving match with Lucio and Cisse even tried to head butt him everyone was up in the crowd watching and hoping for something to happen. It reminded me of the Zidane altercation he had with Materazzi in 2006 and eventually lead to Zidane headbutting him. Panathinaikos coach was smart and removed Cisse from the game after that as he didnt want anymore problems. Substitute from Inter Coutinho made things interesting in the 85th minute when he fired a shot from the left side to make it a one goal game. With not much time left in the game, Maicon was able to deck threw some defenders of Panathinaikos and was coming down the right side and sent a cross right infront of the net with two Inter players there free as Argentine star Diego Milito’s header from close just missed the empty net. Game ended with Panathinaikos winning 3-2. Overall it was a good experience there and the fans were good but nothing like the experience I had when Real Madrid came last year to play Toronto FC. I think they need to promote the game better if they want more fans to come out. They had 17,169 fans there which isnt bad but it was just a exhibition game with no meaning. The Toronto FC game sold out against Real Madrid and that was an amazing experience. They made a deal with Real Madrid that there certain stars had to play a certain amount of minutes. I think promoters should work with these teams from the different leagues like English Premiere league, Italian league and etc. and try to bring the high end teams here and make a deal where the big stars gotta play certain minutes. If the fans are playing over $100 bucks to see the game I think they deserve to see the stars play. They should also bring a regular season game here which actually matters, then you will see the crowds of people coming out even more and the game would actually mean something. Here are some pictures I took from the game!!