PAOK are through and head to Germany to cement first place
The fact that a game which brought qualification still left a tinge of bitterness shows how high the goals of Razvan Lucescu’s team are this year. PAOK saw Aberdeen score with both of their two goal attempts on target, meaning the home side had to settle for a 2-2 home draw. The result sent PAOK through, and the Double-headed Eagle will now try to make sure they claim first place in the group next time out.
The PAOK players wanted to continue their winning streak in European competition and entered the pitch in determined mood with the sole objective of getting another three points.
But the game did not start in an ideal way. Aberdeen managed to take the lead in the 14th minute, with their only chance in the first half against the run of play. Devlin found space on the right flank and crossed for Duk, who beat Kotarski with a shot on the turn from close range.
Lucescu’s team did not panic, however, and with composure and patience they found the equalizer mid-way through the first half. In the 23rd minute it was Taison who stole possession, played a one-two with Despodov, and the latter squared the ball back across for his Brazilian teammate to slot the ball home low with a flawless finish to make it 1-1.
The Double-headed Eagle upped the tempo and pushed for another goal before the break, and they hit the frame of th goal twice, with Rubezic prodding a clearance against his own post and then Brandon’s shot. However a goal was not forthcoming and the teams went into the dressing rooms at half-time level.
The pattern of the match was the same in the second 45 minutes. PAOK had control and possession of the ball and tried to score another goal that would give them the lead, and it finally came in the 67th minute.
After a cross into the area from the left, Ekong headed the ball back across goal from a position at the back post, and Samatta then glanced a second header into the bottom corner to make it 2-1. But three minutes later, out of nowhere and without having threatened in the entire half, Aberdeen leveled with McGrath’s long-range free-kick.
For the remainder of teh match, PAOK penned the visitors back in their own final third and pushed ferociously for the winning goal, but it did not come, despite a flurry of corners and half-chances.
Aberdeen: Roos, Mackenzie, Rubezic, Gartenman, Devlin, Jensen, Barron, Shinnie (Polvara 61′), McGrath (Miovski 78′), Duncan (Hayes 61′), Duk (Sockler 85′).