Win with a comeback
PAOK got back to action and continued their winning run with an important three-pointer in a tough ground. OFI Crete were playing their first home encounter since rejoining the top tier and their fans were in celebratory mood in Heraklion. However, the “Double-Headed Eagle” were the ones smiling after the final whistle.
PAOK started strongly and, just three minutes after kick-off, Léo Jabá stormed behind OFI defenders, performed a “sombrero” over Strezos’s head, the latter brought him down, but referee Diamantopoulos didn’t point to the spot.
The visitors found it hard to translate their domination to goalscoring chances and OFI managed to level control. In their first noteworthy move towards Alexandros Paschalakis’s goal, they netted the opener with Papasterianos (21’).
Răzvan Lucescu’s players seemed to lose their grip on the encounter, but bounced back after the 30th minute and took control of proceedings, building up plays.
In the 37th minute, Omar El Kaddouri combined with Diego Biseswar , the Dutchman stormed into the area and equalized with a neat finish. PAOK players grew in confidence and completed their comeback just before the interval, thanks to a Léo Matos header following a Biseswar corner kick.
The “Double-Headed Eagle” remained in control in the second half and sealed their victory quite early, in the 53rd minute. El Kaddouri provided a fine cross, Jabá and Biseswar exchanged passes and the Brazilian beat Strezos with a thundering strike to make it 3-1.
OFI tried to react but to no avail. PAOK conceded space and adopted a counterattacking game for the remainder of the match, wasted quite a few opportunities but the scoreline remained unchanged.
A tough week of three demanding encounters began with a victory. Next up, the challenge of hosting Chelsea in Toumba Stadium for matchday 1 of the UEFA Europa League group stage.
OFI Crete: Strezos, Κyriakidis, Κomesidis, Potouridis, Κorovesis, Papasterianos, Νastos, Dinas (54’ Aravidis), Neira (65’ Koutsianikoulis), Sassi (54’ Platellas), Vouho.