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Italian coach Stramaccioni leaves Panathinaikos

GEORGE GEORGAKOPOULOS

TAGS: Soccer

The Greek Cup loss to second-division OFI Crete on Wednesday was the final straw for Panathinaikos that forced Italian manager Andrea Stramaccioni to tender his resignation on Thursday, confirmed by a club statement. The Greens are now in talks with former Panionios manager Marinos Ouzounidis, according to reports.

After a disastrous November for the Athens giant that saw it record one draw and four defeats in five games in all competitions, president Yiannis Alafouzos held emergency talks with the former Inter coach on Thursday and the two men decided to part ways after just over a year.

On Wednesday Panathinaikos went down 2-1 at OFI and is at serious risk of getting eliminated from the Cup, having already missed out on a spot in the knock-out stages of the Europa League and dropped to third in the league, seven points behind leader Olympiakos.

In the aftermath of the 3-0 loss at Olympiakos a few weeks ago Alafouzos had discussed Stramaccioni’s future on the club’s bench, but the decision made at the time was to give the Italian one last chance. Reports said that the severance pay Stramaccioni demanded at the time was too high for the club to cover.

The Panathinaikos statement on Thursday actually said that Stramaccioni will continue to support the Panathinaikos owner’s project in the club, that may refer to a form of cooperation regarding transfer candidates in the future.

Now the Italian is gone, reports in the Greek media said that Ouzounidis, a former Panathinaikos player who was very close to taking over at Olympiakos in the summer, had a discussion with Alafouzos early on Thursday.

This means that before Christmas all three major clubs of the capital, Panathinaikos, Olympiakos and AEK have changed their managers, with Olympiakos having done so twice already.

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