Alberto Malesani has urged his players to avenge their September defeat by Group C rivals Udinese as Panathinaikos attempt to beat the Italian side in Athens on Tuesday and stay on course for the Champions League knockout rounds.
Panathinaikos went down 3-0 in Udine on Matchday 1 and their coach Alberto Malesani is looking forward to taking revenge tonight.
“We are annoyed by that defeat, but it will give my players extra motivation to win,” Malesani said. “We are fighters and we have an ego.”
Both clubs have four points alongside Werder Bremen, and behind Barcelona who have already qualified with ten points.
“We are playing to win. We need to be patient as the teams are evenly balanced. I think the match will be more of a mind game than anything else,” said Malesani.
Malesani is expected to use a 4-4-2 formation but may be forced to make a change at full-back as Loukas Vintra and midfielders Constantinos Charalambides and Mikael Nilsson remain doubtful starters.
Udinese coach Serse Cosmi is well aware of the size of the task at hand but believes a win tonight is not out of the question.
“I’m expecting a different side to the one we beat in September,” he said.
“We will try to win. We played very well in both our matches against Bremen [a 1-1 home draw and 4-3 away defeat
“Each team has an equal chance of reaching the next stage.”
Cosmi has douts over the fitnesss of Cesare Natali, Juarez and Vidigal, bu his main concern is striker Iaquinta’s availability in Athens.
“Iaquinta didn’t take part in training he will only play if he can,” Cosmi said.
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