PAOK throw away two points
Apollon Smyrnis goalkeeper Davino Verhulst produced a string of saves, the visitors’ attackers scored twice from three chances created, while PAOK had 70% of the possession. In the end, however, the home side managed to save a point in the finale of this Matchday 21 Super League Interwetten clash at the Toumba.
Two defensive lapses, an excellent opposing goalkeeper, and the lack of composure at key stages of the match proved PAOK’s undoing on Sunday as they were held to a home draw against Apollon Smyrnis, who celebrated an unexpected point, even by using unfair means during the finale.
PAOK began the game with the aim of controlling possession and try to threaten the Verhulst’s goal at every opportunity. The visitors, however, managed to keep the Double-headed Eagle players outside the penalty area, with the home side producing only a couple of long-range shots.
The deadlock was broken though in the 29th minute. Omar El Kaddouri attempted a shot on goal on the move but his mis-hit effort bounced up towards Amr Warda, who beat the visiting goalkeeper with a powerful volley to make it 1-0. After 43 minutes the Apollon goalkeeper produced a stunning save to deny Thomas Murg and the teams went in at half-time with the home side one goal ahead.
The second half did not get off to a good start for PAOK. The referee awarded Apollon a penalty via VAR review, with El Kaddouri adjudged to have fouled Ioannidis. Tsabouris slotted past Zivkovic in the 50th minute to draw the visitors level.
PAOK then took the initiative once more and began to bombard the opposition goal. But Verhulst had an answer on each occasion PAOK threatened, denying efforts from Vieirinha , Warda and Swiderski , who came off the bench in the second half along with Shinji Kagawa , as the coaching team looked to freshen the attacking options.
In the 81st minute, against the run of play, Fernandez found space in the penalty area to put the visitors ahead with a clinical side-footed effort.
The Double-headed Eagle pushed forward en masse to try and turn the game around, but all they could muster was an equalizer through Ingi Ingason who slide the ball home following a corner on 88 minutes. The Apollon players then attempted some crude time-wasting tactics by going down and staying down after virtually every tackle, and this helped them achieve their goal, with Vieirinha missing the target from two free-kicks late on from good positions.
Apollon Smyrnis: Verhulst, Brucic, Baxevanidis, Coll (88’ Vitlis), Ioannidis, Bedinelli (76’ Kitoko), Calisir, Slivka, Tsabouris, Dauda (65’ Fernandez).