Trust in Klaus!
In a mediocre match, PAOK secured an important 2-1 win that gives them a huge boost for qualification. The “Double-Headed Eagle” weren’t impressive, but had done their homework for the Liberec game and profited from Athanasiadis’s trademark clinical finishing.
PAOK had a tough match to negotiate, against a rival who could become dangerous if underestimated. That became evident after just 41 seconds into the game, when they scored the opener with a swift counterattack.
That goal didn’t sidetrack the “Double-Headed Eagle” who kept their cool and built their own game, looking to punish the Czech side for the spaces left in their defence. Panagiotis Glykos teed up Garry Rodrigues with a long pass and the winger of PAOK earned a penalty in the 9th minute. It was time for Stefanos Athanasiadis to equalize from the spot…
The first half went by without further excitement, with several fouls by both sides cutting the pace. The same pattern emerged at the start of the second half, with FC Slovan Liberec enjoying more ball possession, but they didn’t create chances.
As the match was drawing to a close, Klaus reminded everyone –perhaps even himself- why he is the greatest scorer in PAOK’s recent history. In the 82nd minute, he saw Marin Leovac cross and he towered over the defenders to head the winner. He made it 2-1 out of sheer determination and passion and celebrated it profusely with the “Double-Headed Eagle” fans!
This victory could have been larger, but Rodrigues managed somehow to miss a sure goal at stoppage time, with the home goalkeeper having joined the attack!
However PAOK held on to a valuable away victory against the Czech side, a result that could prove key for qualification.
FC Slovan Liberec: Dúbravka, Breite, Coufal, Sýkora, Folprecht (73′ Karafiát), Hovorka, Komlichenko, Vůch, Bartl (46′ Ekpai), Bartošák (79′ Baroš), Latka.
PΑΟΚ: Glykos, Matos, Varela, Tzavellas, Leovac, Cimirot, Cañas, Campos (59’ Mystakidis), Shakhov (73’ Thiam), Rodrigues, Athanasiadis (87’ Crespo).