PAOK didn’t break the curse
In the first half, there was only one team on the pitch. PAOK showed their teeth right from the start, with devastating percentage of possession (up to 70%). Panionios had a hard time even getting out of their half.
Răzvan Lucescu’s players were a constant threat for Panionios’s goal. Their attack was working on all cylinders, either through lively Efthymis Koulouris in the box or with long-range shots by Djalma Campos. However PAOK’s opener was the result of another detail that the Romanian tactician is working on: pressing high up the pitch.
In the 40th minute, Koulouris followed Guilhoata and took advantage of the latter’s poor back pass to Kotnik. He chipped the ball and the goalkeeper of Panionios couldn’t avoid bringing him down and conceding a penalty. The young forward converted it himself and scored his first goal in Super League Souroti.
After the interval, we witnessed yet again the phenomenon of PAOK’s rivals scoring with the first chance they get. In the 48th minute, Panionios created their first attempt on target with Spiridonović and made it 1-1. From then on, the home side leveled possession by engaging in very fast counterattacks.
But PAOK remained in control, had the initiative and wasted the biggest opportunity to regain the lead in the 74th minute, when Kotnik produced an astonishing save to deny Dimitris Pelkas’s header. PAOK squandered off more chances to score a second goal, such as the wasted one-on-one of Aleksandar Prijović -and ended up paying for it with a counterattack of their hosts. Panionios took the lead with Yeşil in the 86th minute.
The “Double-Headed Eagle” players however didn’t surrender. In the final stretch of the match they attacked in waves and enjoyed their reward in the 92nd minute. Vieirinha took the free kick and Léo Matos connected an impressive header to make it 2-2.
PAOK got just one point in Nea Smyrni, but it could prove decisive in the league. However they can’t help feeling disappointed for failing to win a match they owned.
Panionios: Kotnik, Vlachos, Banana, Guilhoata, Hajsafi, Korbos, Savvidis (69′ Kargas), Tapoko (18′ Piniotis), Masouras, Spiridonović, Durmishaj (78′ Yeşil).