PAOK kicked off their league engagements for 2016 with a very good performance, prevailing 3-1 over PAS Giannina.
The troops of Igor Tudor played at a high tempo, applied pressure on all lines, created many goalscoring chances and had well-rested Robin Olsen keeping goal. Their performance was the best antidote for their defeat at Mytilini and ahead of Thursday’s second leg.
Apart from their own low morale, PAOK faced a rival defending in numbers who defended in numbers. Tudor’s 4-2-3-1 formation though gave his team the opportunity to spread on the pitch and look for their chances against PAS Giannina from the axis and the flanks.
It took some time for the “Double-Headed Eagle” to score the opener, but it was worth the wait. In the 43rd minute, Jairo combined beautifully with Stefanos Athanasiadis who broke the deadlock with a header. Earlier, Dimitris Pelkas, Róbert Mak and Charis Charisis had wasted several chances to give PAOK the lead.
That goal before the interval made their job easier. In the second half, the home side dismissed any thoughts the visitors had of equalizing. A thunderous drive from outside the box by Charisis made it 2-0 against his previous club, while Jairo increased the home side’s lead in the 64th minute. PAOK camped around their rivals’ area until the end. The Giannina outfit just managed to score a consolation goal through Kozoronis, three minutes from time.
Apart from the tactics that clicked to perfection and the passion displayed by all PAOK players, extra mention goes to the displays by Charisis and Gojko Cimirot who prevailed in midfield, as well as Jairo’s performance full of substance (goal and assist included).
PAOK: Olsen, Kitsiou, Vítor, Tzavellas, Leovac, Pelkas, Mak (73′ Berbatov), Athanasiadis, Charisis (Golasa 69′), Cimirot, Jairo (77′ Mystakidis).
PAS Giannina: Vellidis, Garoufalias (71′ Kozoronis), Struna (46′ Acosta), Μichail, Berios, Skondras, Iliadis, Τsoukalas, Lila, Ilić (60′ Manias), Giakos.