PAOK show character in derby win over AEK
Our coach said it himself from day one. The important thing is for a team to gain character. And Razvan Lucescu is a man who knows how to get this message through to players. Even in the absences of Vieirinha, Crespo, Varela, Ingason, Oliveira, and El Kaddouri, PAOK is a team united. And although they are at the beginning of… the beginning, they showed it once more in a 2-0 home win over AEK at the Toumba.
Before the big derby kick-ff the difficulties were a given. The fatigue from the continuous road trips, the many absentees, and the quality of the opposition. PAOK, however, never looked back from the moment the players walked onto the pitch.
The home side kept they concentration levels sky-high until the final whistle, showed passion, intensity, and faith in the team’s strengths. The players were full of running, and were a team in every sense of the word as they went on to celebrate an important victory in the first derby of this year’s Super League Interwetten.
The match also proved to be a classic derby. It had rhythm and lots of chances in front of goal for both sides. There were niggly fouls, nerves, strength and a big winner in the end. Razvan Lucsescu’s new PAOK that is currently under construction promises much for the future.
The first part of the match was a balanced affair, and both goalkeepers were there whenever they needed to intervene, while overall both defenses held their lines well and there was no clear sight of goal until the 42nd minute. And it was at this point that the class of Diego Biseswar did the talking. The Suriname midfielder got in a great position to meet the ball from a cross and score with a perfect finish to give PAOK the lead. The home side also wasted another great opportunity to extend their lead just before the half-time break.
In second half the pattern of the game did not change. Both teams were in the mood, the ball was constantly moving up and down the pitch, but all of the remaining important highlights were to happen in the last 12 minutes.
AEK tried to respond immediately, but Mohammadi’s goal was chalked off for offside, with Ansarifard blocking Paschalakis .
Nothing else changed until the final whistle and PAOK celebrated a great win. Now the focus is on Thursday’s match against Slovan Bratislava.
AEK (Vladan Milojevic): Stankovic, Michelin, Vranjes, Tzavellas, Hadjisafi (75′ Mohammadi), Szymanski (60′ Shakhov), Le Tallec (86’Simoes), Gevtic (60′ Ansarifard), Garcia (86′ Tankovic), Zuber, Araujo.