Emphatic away win in Heraklion
PAOK created chances, played good football, and hit the woodwork, going on to record a comfortable 3-0 win over OFI in Crete. The visitors did everything right in Heraklion to chalk up what was the club’s first away win of 2021.
PAOK traveled to Crete without three important players, with suspended trio Ingason, El Kaddouri and Α.Zivkovic all missing, while Dimitris Giannoulis was also absent from Friday having departed for England to wrap up his move to Norwich City.
The Double-headed Eagle squad though showed that they were not hampered by those absentees, coming out in determined mood and picking up from where they left off against Olympiacos last Wednesday. It was another positive display which this time yielded a victory over OFI at the Theodoros Vardinogiannis Stadium.
From the kick-off PAOK looked to pile the pressure on the Cretans’ defence with wave after wave of attack. Within the first 20 minutes there was a good shot from Warda and three clear chances for Krmencik , who saw a header come back off the bar in the 19th minute.
After 22 minutes Warda released Christos Tzolis with a brilliant slide-rule pass, and the young forward surged past Waterman who brought down the PAOK forward outside the penalty area. Match referee Anastasios Papapetrou checked the VAR before then showing the OFI goalkeeper a red card for his troubles, given that he was judged to have prevented a goalscoring opportunity.
Despite having a numerical advantage, PAOK did not manage to find a breakthrough before the end of the first half, missing a handful of chances with Tzolis and Krmencik the chief culprits.
Everything changed at the start of the second half. In the 48th minute Tzolis met Muerg’s center to prod the ball home and open the socre, and in the 53rd minute, Fernando Varela then ended the game as a contest by scoring with a shot from inside the box following a pass from Murg, who had previously combined well with Stefan Schwab .
The Double-headed Eagle kept their feet firmly on the accelerator pedal and continued to search for more goals. And in the 67th minute, Krmencik finally got the goal he had threatened to score all afternoon to wrap up the win and cap a fine performance from his side. He picked up possession inside the box, skipped past the challenge of Selimovic and beat Sotiriou with a clinical finish.
PAOK had further opportunities to add to the scoreline before the final whistle, while the Cretans did not pose a threat to the visitors’ goal. One of the highlights of the game was also the debut of 18-year-old Giannis Konstantelias , who came off the bench to play for the Double-headed Eagle’s first team for the first time in a competitive match.
OFI: Waterman, Oues, Vouros (77’ Solis), Selimovic, Lyberakis (30’ Sotiriou), Korovesis (78’ Sournakis), Vafeas, Staikos, Neira, Sturgeon (68’ Grivas), Sardinero (68’ Giannoulis).