PAOK claim victory in the finale
PAOK had a difficult evening in Agrinio. After going ahead early thanks to Karol Swiderski, several chances to add to the lead were missed, and then the home side levelled. In the end though, an exceptional goal from Nika Ninua and a penalty from Antonio Colak gave PAOK the victory.
Every new beginning is always difficult. And so it proved in the first game under the new coaching regime, with PAOK made to work hard on a tough afternoon in Agrinio, but claiming all three vital points in the closing minutes thanks to patience and determination.
The Double-headed Eagle started with a 4-3-3 system with Karol Swiderski leading the attack, aided by Christos Tziolis and Αndrija Zivkovic on the flanks. The visitors started strongly and looked for an early goal.
Panetolikos goalkeeper Christopher Knett came to his team’s rescue to save a header from Fernando Varela after four minutes, but he had no answer to Swiderski’s headed effort in the 18th minute from a Stefan Schwab cross.
The home side’s only threat in the first half came in the closing stages of the opening 45 minutes with a shot, while the Double-headed Eagle could not find a second goal before half-time.
In the second half the Agrinio club balanced up the game by producing a more determined display and finally levelled teh match in the 54th minute when Ingi Ingason gave away a penalty by fouling Ariyibi, who dusted himself down to score from the spot past Zivko Zivkovic and make it 1-1.
PAOK enjoyed the majority of possession and control of the game from that moment on, but could not find a way past Knett, with Swiderski missing the target with a header and Α.Zivkovic’s shot saved by the home ‘keeper.
In the end it was two players from the bench who provided the solution. Firstly Nika Ninua struck with a stunning free-kick to put PAOK back in front, and in added time Antonio Colak scored from the peanalty spot to wrap up the points after Karasalidis handled a shot from Thomas Murg.
Panetolikos: Knett, Liavas, Karasalidis, Konstantopoulos, Wanderson, Mendoza (79′ Alvarez), Dalcio, Jakolis (79′ Azadi), Vergos (63′ Duarte), Ariyibi, Diaz (70′ Tsiggaras).