Comeback win and a place in the final
For 84 minutes everything went wrong. Incredible missed opportunities, a penalty miss, and then 0-1 down. But, as we have said many times in the past, this PAOK team never gives up. A wonderful goal by Michael Krmencik and another from Andrija Zivkovic galvanized PAOK, and sent the Double-headed Eagle through to the Greek Cup final where they will meet Olympiacos.
PAOK went into this second-leg match with a 1-0 advantage from the first match at the OAKA, but it was a given that PAOK’s job would not be easy.
And so it proved. ΑΕΚ came to play for all or nothing at the Toumba, managed to swing the match in their favor and also benefit from some good fortune. But, in the end, they succumbed to a dynamic PAOK side in the closing stages of the second half.
The Double-headed Eagle were the bette side in the opening 45 minutes, although chances were at a premium. Warda failed to beat AEKgoalkeeper Panagiotis Tsintota in the 26th minute from close range in a one-on-one situation, while a Karol Swiderski header after 36 minutes hit the side netting of the ΑΕΚ goal.
The hosts began the second half in dynamic fashion, aiming to get a goal that would put the tie to bed. After 60 minutes Swiderski was upended in the penalty area by Kostas Galanopoulos and a penalty was awarded, but Vieirinha hit the right post of Tsintota’s goal.
The visitors then made PAOK pay dearly for that miss by taking the lead 9 minutes later thanks to a header from the unmarked Galanopoulos, who rose unopposed at the near post to head home and make PAOK’s task a difficult one.
The Double-headed Eagle players, however, did not get disheartened. They kept their composure, stuck to their plan with patience and managed to turn the match around.
In the 84th minute Rahman Baba released Krmencik with an exquisire diagonal pass into the penalty area and the Czech forward blasted the ball past Tsintota at the near post into the roof of the net to make it 1-1.
ΑΕΚ tried their best to find a response, but PAOK were well organised at the back, and did not allow the visitors time and space to work any clear openings, and then manage to find a winning goal themselves in the last minute of the game. Zivkovic picked up possession after a misplaced pass by AEK’s Mario Mitaj, and without hesitating the Serb sent a sublime lob over Tsintotas from distance to put the icing on the cake of a great comeback 2-1 win.
With two wins over the two legs and an aggregate score of 3-1, PAOK progressed to the Greek Cup final, where they will meet Olympiacos on May 22.
PAOK: Paschalakis , Rodrigo , Ingason , Varela , Vieirnha (77’ Michailidis), Baba , Augusto , Schwab , Α.Ζivkovic (96’ Lyratzis ), Warda (87’ Tsingaras ), Swiderski (77’ Krmencik ).
ΑΕΚ: Tsintotas, Svarnas, Chygrynskiy, (88’ Kosidis), Nedelcearu, Lopes (62’ Mitaj), Galanopoulos, Krsticic (62’ Tankovic), Szymanski (62’ Albanis), Vasilantonopoulos (88’ Danchenko), Mandalos, Ansarifard.