Impressive U20s stroll past Xanthi
`A flawless and commanding performance saw PAOK U20s prevail 3-0 over SKODA Xanthi on Saturday afternoon at Nea Mesimvria. It was their fourth victory in the last five game, having dropped points only on the day of their goalless draw against Panthrakikos on the “swamp” pitch of Komotini. The young players of the “Double-Headed Eagle” were ruthless and could have recorded an even larger victory had their finishing been more effective.
Vladan Ivić fielded Tselepidis as left full-back to fill the void of Anastasiou. Kyriakos Savvidis made his comeback after his “adventure” at OFI. Syrakos spearheaded the attack as Kushta was sidelined with injury and Kakko featured as winger taking Pozoglou’s place, who is on duty with the seniors this weekend.
PAOK stepped on the throttle right out of the blocks and would have gotten an early lead, but Kakko (2’) and Deligiannidis failed to score the opener. Syrakos came to the rescue though in the 15th minute, taking advantage of Xanthi’s defensive slip up and put his team on the driver’s sit with a neat finish.
After 20 minutes of play, Xanthi wasted their biggest opportunity (and only one in the game) to make it difficult for PAOK. The referee awarded a controversial penalty when Chatzidimpas brought down a Xanthi player. However the spot kick was wasted, as the ball struck on the woodwork. From then on, it was one-way traffic…
PAOK kept pounding the rivals’ defence and wasted a golden opportunity to make it 2-0, when Deligiannidis’ scissors kick was saved in extremis by Xanthi’s goalkeeper. But the latter couldn’t prevent the ball from crossing his goalline in the 45th minute. Tsiampazis dribbled his way past two opponents and crossed towards Deligiannidis who was lurking in the six-yard box and made it 2-0 before the teams hit the dressing rooms.
The complexion of the encounter didn’t change after the half-time break. The “Double-Headed Eagle” continued in control of proceedings and were rewarded in the 51st minute with a powerful shot from Panagiotidis from the edge of the box that made it 3-0. On the stroke of the hour, Savvidis slalomed from the centre of the pitch, evading three opponents and was brought down after entering the area. He was awarded a penalty, stepped to take it himself but the rival keeper produced an impressive save to deny him.
PAOK kept their high pace, running incessantly in search of more goals. A thunderous strike from 40 metres out by Patralis was saved by the goalkeeper in the 75th minute, while the impressive slalom of Tselepidis who danced circles around his rivals also didn’t amount to anything.
This comfortable victory consolidates PAOK’s fourth place in the standings and hand them the opportunity to aim even higher for the remainder of the season.
PAOK U20: Soilemezoglou, Tselepidis, Chatzidimpas, Tsiampazis, Topalidis (76′ Vasaitis), Panagiotidis, Patralis, Savvidis (65′ Ktistopoulos), Kakko (60′ Tsolakidis), Deligiannidis, Syrakos.