By George Georgakopoulos
The ghost of Panathinaikos that had suffered a humiliating loss to Maribor at the start of the Europa League group stage earlier this fall, reappeared on Thursday in Italy to suffer another 3-0 loss, to Lazio.
The Libor Kozak brace in the first half and the Sergio Floccari header in the second have left the Greeks with mere mathematical chances of advancing from the pool.
Panathinaikos actually came close to scoring in the 19th minute but Toche could not connect with Nikos Spyropoulos’s cross from the left and one minute later he got substituted due to an injury.
Lazio soon took the lead as a needless back-heel pass by Quincy Owusu-Abeyie ended up at Kozak who beat Panathinaikos keeper Orestis Karnezis with a beautiful lob in the 22nd minute.
Five minutes before halftime Kozak struck again as he made the most of a poor pass by youngster Diamantis Chouchoumis to make it 2-0 from near the penalty spot.
The second half proved to be no better for the Greens, who conceded a third goal just before the hour mark as Floccari rose unmarked and headed the ball in from close distance after a Mauro Zarate freekick from the left.
Former Greece manager Otto Rehhagel and his wife who attended the game at the Stadio Olimpico of Rome would have been excused for wondering whatever happened to the team that had beaten Roma in that very stadium less than three years ago with a 3-2 score for the same competition.