Spectacle, substance, and one foot in the next round
It was impressive and there could have been even more than the five goals that were scored, but PAOK laid solid foundations for a place in the second round of the Greek Cup on Wednesday with a rampant 5-0 win over Larissa at the Toumba Stadium in the first leg of their first round tie.
With Christos Tzolis , who plundered the first hat-trick of his professional career, in scintillating form, the Double-headed Eagle took a decisive step into the next round in what turned out to be a straightforward assignment against Larissa.
PAOK began the game with the clear aim of putting the game to bed early and not allowing their opponents a sniff. And the home side pinned the Thessaly club deep in their own half from the kick-off and began to threaten the goal of visiting goalkeeper Nagy.
Tzolis and Warda fired a couple of warning shot before the Golden Boy opened the scoring in the ninth minute from Krmencik’s assist. In the 23rd minute PAOK’s young ace struck again. This time the architect was Douglas Augusto , who picked out Tzolis with a brilliant cross-field pass into the penalty area. Tzolis’ delicate touch took him away from his marker and he proceeded to skip past Nagy and clip the ball past the ‘keeper’s last-ditch dive to make it 2-0. There were no further goals before half-time, with the visitors having Nagy to thank for making several quality saves, while Durmishaj missed Larissa’s one clear scoring chance.
In the second half PAOK were relentless. After 47 minutes Krmencik latched on to an assist from Andrija Zivkovic and made it 3-0, while Ingason got on the scoresheet again in the 53rd minute after converting Warda’s headed pass with a close-range powerful shot for 4-0.
The Double-headed Eagle did not let their tempo drop and continued to hunt for more goals. In the 74th minute Tzolis completed his hat-trick with a flawlessly clinical finish from Lamprou’s pass, with the latter missing a great chance to make it 6-0 in the 81st minute when he blazed high and wide.
And so PAOK now have a significant cushion ahead of the second leg, and now the attention of everyone at the club turns to the upcoming 2020-21 Super League Interwetten derby matches with AEK and Olympiacos, which take place at the Toumba and the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium respectively.
PAOK: Zivkovic , Rodrigo , Ingason , Varela , Pereira (72’ Lyratzis ), Augusto , El Kaddouri (73’ Schwab ), Α.Ζivkovic (73’ Murg ), Warda (60’ Lamprou ), Tzolis , Krmencik (59’ Koutsias ).
Larissa: Nagy, Gotzamanidis (63′ Cosic), Ziaic, Bertos (64’ Nikolias), Maidanos, Colombino (82’ Stoinović), Iliadis, Milosavljević, Karanikas, Glinos (64’ Pinakas), Durmishaj (76’ Nunic).